swallow

1 of 3

noun (1)

swal·​low ˈswä-(ˌ)lō How to pronounce swallow (audio)
1
: any of numerous small widely distributed oscine birds (family Hirundinidae, the swallow family) that have a short bill, long pointed wings, and often a deeply forked tail and that feed on insects caught on the wing
2
: any of several birds that superficially resemble swallows

Illustration of swallow

Illustration of swallow
  • swallow 1

swallow

2 of 3

verb

swallowed; swallowing; swallows

transitive verb

1
: to take through the mouth and esophagus into the stomach
2
: to envelop or take in as if by swallowing : absorb
swallow the financial loss
watch night swallow the valley
3
: to accept without question, protest, or resentment
swallow an insult
a hard story to swallow
4
: take back, retract
had to swallow my words
5
: to keep from expressing or showing : repress
swallowed my anger
6
: to utter (words) indistinctly

intransitive verb

1
: to receive something into the body through the mouth and esophagus
2
: to perform the action characteristic of swallowing something especially under emotional stress
swallowable adjective
swallower noun

swallow

3 of 3

noun (2)

1
: the passage connecting the mouth to the stomach
2
: a capacity for swallowing
3
a
: an act of swallowing
b
: an amount that can be swallowed at one time

Examples of swallow in a Sentence

Verb He swallowed the grape whole. Chew your food well before you swallow. The boss said, “Come in.” I swallowed hard and walked in. Her story is pretty hard to swallow. I can usually take criticism, but this is more than I can swallow. Noun (2) drank the cool refreshing water in two swallows and held out her cup for more
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The doctors scheduled me for a barium swallow test, also known as an esophagram, to measure how my esophagus was draining. Rachel S. Hunt, Washington Post, 6 July 2024 Arwen takes one swallow, grimaces, and puts down the glass. Annie Proulx, The New Yorker, 30 June 2024
Verb
Risks Adverse effects may include heartburn, dyspepsia (indigestion), abdominal pain, belching, and dysphagia (difficulty swallowing). Amber J. Tresca, Verywell Health, 5 July 2024 This is Big Tech’s playbook for swallowing the AI industry (The Verge) Meta created a ‘Supreme Court’ for content. Will Oremus, Washington Post, 2 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for swallow 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'swallow.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

Middle English swalowe, from Old English swealwe; akin to Old High German swalawa swallow

Verb

Middle English swalowen, from Old English swelgan; akin to Old High German swelgan to swallow

First Known Use

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of swallow was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near swallow

Cite this Entry

“Swallow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swallow. Accessed 17 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

swallow

1 of 3 noun
swal·​low ˈswäl-ō How to pronounce swallow (audio)
1
: any of a family of small birds that have long pointed wings and usually a deeply forked tail and that feed on insects caught while in flight
2
: any of several birds that look like true swallows

swallow

2 of 3 verb
1
a
: to take into the stomach through the mouth and throat
b
: to perform the actions used in swallowing something
clear your throat and swallow before answering
2
: to take in as if by swallowing : engulf
3
: to accept or believe without question, protest, or anger
a hard story to swallow
4
: to keep from expressing or showing : repress
swallowed my anger
swallower noun

swallow

3 of 3 noun
1
: an act of swallowing
2
: an amount that can be swallowed at one time
Etymology

Noun

Old English swealwe "the swallow"

Verb

Old English swelgan "to swallow"

Medical Definition

swallow

1 of 2 transitive verb
swal·​low ˈswäl-(ˌ)ō How to pronounce swallow (audio)
: to take through the mouth and esophagus into the stomach

intransitive verb

: to receive something into the body through the mouth and esophagus

swallow

2 of 2 noun
1
: an act of swallowing
2
: an amount that can be swallowed at one time

More from Merriam-Webster on swallow

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