ground·​swell | \ ˈgrau̇nd-ˌswel How to pronounce groundswell (audio) \

Definition of groundswell

1 usually ground swell : a broad deep undulation of the ocean caused by an often distant gale or seismic disturbance
2 : a rapid spontaneous growth (as of political opinion) a groundswell of support

Examples of groundswell in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

After a groundswell of public and political outrage against the separation of children without their caregivers, President Donald Trump signed an order Wednesday pledging the government will stop separating families detained at the border. Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan Congresswoman: I saw immigrant kids held in a cage, crying moms," 23 June 2018 But there are signs that the groundswell of hard-leftism is having an effect on more mainstream, national candidates. Adam Shaw, Fox News, "Socialism rises in Democratic Party as primary season of upsets comes to close," 18 Sep. 2018 That movement, in turn, helped lead to the groundswell of women running for office — and winning — in 2018. Anna North, Vox, "The Women’s March changed the American left. Now anti-Semitism allegations threaten the group’s future.," 21 Dec. 2018 Men in Vogue This year saw not only a groundswell of interest in menswear as old houses were revived by new creative heads, but also a further crumbling of the gender divide. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "1968 vs. 2018: 50 Years Later Fashion Is Still Playing With the Bohemian Rhapsody of the Late, Tumultuous ’60s," 14 Dec. 2018 Samuel Walker, a national policing expert, said a groundswell of support for public oversight in policing has grown as more and more troubling police shootings and incidents of abuse against people of color have been caught on video. Annie Sweeney,, "Community groups propose civilian oversight of Chicago Police Department," 10 Mar. 2018 It was nominated for the prestigious Spiel des Jahres award (though it was beaten by Azul) and has started a groundswell of both praise and consternation. Charlie Theel, Ars Technica, "The Mind: Most polarizing card game of the year?," 4 Aug. 2018 Pakistan's biggest sports celebrity, cricket star Imran Khan, is riding an anti-corruption theme and a groundswell of support from young people in a strong bid to become the country's next prime minister this month. Abdul Salam, USA TODAY, "A cricket star is the front-runner to become Pakistan's next prime minister," 9 July 2018 Some people are more widely recognized as being canceled than others, and cancellation frequently comes in a groundswell as a response to a person’s comments or actions. Jonah Engel Bromwich, New York Times, "Everyone Is Canceled," 28 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'groundswell.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of groundswell

1786, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about groundswell

Statistics for groundswell

Last Updated

15 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for groundswell

The first known use of groundswell was in 1786

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for groundswell



English Language Learners Definition of groundswell

: a fast increase in the amount of public support for something (such as a political cause or candidate)

More from Merriam-Webster on groundswell

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with groundswell

Comments on groundswell

What made you want to look up groundswell? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an enemy or opponent

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!