ground·​swell | \ ˈgrau̇nd-ˌswel \

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

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 In one, Tim and Nancy Travis thank fans for the groundswell of online support that led to their show coming back. Megan Friedman, Country Living, "‘Last Man Standing’ Will Deal With the Death of a Key Character in Its New Season," 10 Sep. 2018 The groundswell of support for Dr. Ford is exactly what the Me Too movement is about. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "A Second Sexual Misconduct Allegation and a Possible Delay—The Latest in Brett Kavanaugh's Nomination," 24 Sep. 2018 The move to overturn the refuge policy, hailed by hunting groups, drew a groundswell of public opposition. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, "Federal judge rejects predator-control lawsuit against Interior Department," 8 June 2018 There was a groundswell (among) our partners to grow in the Northeast, principally where Chadbourne & Parke was located. Patrick Danner, San Antonio Express-News, "Managing partner oversees 1,000 lawyers from San Antonio office," 25 June 2018 The movement has seen a groundswell of support for measures like repealing the tampon tax and making sure menstrual products are affordable and available to school kids, inmates, and homeless period-havers alike. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "The New IHOP Logo Looks Like a Tampon Ad and People Are Into It," 11 June 2018 But that piece of the NRA bundle has shrunk in recent days, as a slew of major companies have responded to a groundswell of anti-gun activism by canceling their discounts and other affinity deals with the gun lobby. Marc Fisher, Washington Post, "Why the NRA doesn’t much care if businesses spurn them," 2 Mar. 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

Share groundswell

Statistics for groundswell

Last Updated

7 Jan 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).


someone who never drinks alcohol

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

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!