\ ˈswämp , ˈswȯmp \

Definition of swamp 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a wetland often partially or intermittently covered with water especially : one dominated by woody vegetation

2 : a tract of swamp

3 : a difficult or troublesome situation or subject


swamped; swamping; swamps

Definition of swamp (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to fill with or as if with water : inundate, submerge

b : to overwhelm numerically or by an excess of something : flood swamped with work

2 : to open by removing underbrush and debris

intransitive verb

: to become submerged

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Other words from swamp


swamp adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for swamp

Synonyms: Noun

bog, fen, marsh, marshland, mire, moor, morass, muskeg, slough (also slew), swampland, wash, wetland

Synonyms: Verb

deluge, drown, engulf, flood, gulf, inundate, overflow, overwhelm, submerge, submerse

Antonyms: Verb


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Examples of swamp in a Sentence


Alligators live in the lowland swamps. be careful in the swamp, because alligators sometimes lurk there


The sea level rose and swamped the coastal villages. The boat sank after it was swamped by waves.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

West Virginia is a Trump state and the belief that Washington is broken, drain the swamp, is very strong here. Chris Cillizza, CNN, "A mine-owning, Mitch McConnell-hating, former convict could be the Republican Senate nominee in West Virginia," 2 May 2018 The analysis revealed that only two percent of male swamp sparrows deviated from the musical status quo. Robert Lachlan, National Geographic, "This Bird Has Been Singing the Same Song for 1,000 Years," 20 June 2018 Trump promised as a presidential candidate to drain the swamp in Washington. CBS News, "Steven D. Cook, ex-chemical industry lawyer, to lead Superfund task force at EPA," 1 June 2018 Tour Louisiana's bayous by swamp boat Getty Images 17. Marie Claire, "20 Adventures To Have In Your Lifetime," 13 Aug. 2014 The heated exchange ended with Jeff exiting the car and running off into a swamp. Jodi Guglielmi, PEOPLE.com, "Southern Charm New Orleans' Reagan and Jeff Charleston Separate," 4 June 2018 And in the clamber to harmonize with this 144-year term, a swamp of extensions is certainly on the way. Lawrence Lessig, WIRED, "Congress' Latest Move to Extend Copyright Protection Is Misguided," 18 May 2018 But so far, draining the swamp has been more about deregulation and shrinking the federal workforce, and less about strengthening or even adhering to the norms and rules of ethical behavior for government officials. Linda Feldmann, The Christian Science Monitor, "Is Trump draining the swamp – or is the water rising?," 6 Apr. 2018 Expect -- mood, mystery, gothic romance, and swamp monsters! Mike Scott, NOLA.com, "DC Comics is developing 'Swamp Thing,' set in Houma, as a TV series," 3 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Left unmentioned in the investigative report is how other employees said they were swamped by a surge in demand for concealed weapons permits and didn’t understand the background check system. Steve Contorno, miamiherald, "New information shows deeper problems with bungled concealed-weapon background checks," 6 July 2018 Over the last several years, as the opioid crisis swamped America, there has been a parade of athletes coming forward with painful and personal stories. Dave Hyde, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Hyde: A good step in the opioid crisis | Commentary," 7 June 2018 More than a half-year after floodwaters swamped America’s fourth-largest city, the extent of this environmental assault is beginning to surface, while questions about the long-term consequences for human health remain unanswered. Time, "'Nothing Short of Catastrophic.' Hurricane Harvey's Toxic Impact Worse Than Publicly Reported, Records Show," 22 Mar. 2018 As all of his teammates swamped the match winner, the Belgian striker dropped to floor, punching the pitch before raising his arms and shouting to the heavens. SI.com, "Twitter Reacts to Romelu Lukaku's Passionate Celebration After Nemanja Matic's Last Minute Winner," 6 Mar. 2018 Instead, it was swamped by an international uproar over Trump’s immigration-enforcement policies and the wrenching separations of parents and children at the southern border. Jonathan Tamari, Philly.com, "For traditional Republicans, immigration, tariffs show risks of 'silent bargain' with Trump," 25 June 2018 Now, the Caribbean is bracing for what could be the mother of all seaweed invasions, with satellite observations warning of record-setting Sargassum blooms and seaweed already swamping beaches. Katie Langin, Science | AAAS, "Mysterious masses of seaweed assault Caribbean islands," 11 June 2018 For another, the group working on the review of former training sites was swamped with work, the project being low in the Army’s list of priorities. Dugan Arnett, BostonGlobe.com, "On tranquil Nantucket, a new worry about what’s under the sand," 3 July 2018 Pruitt has been swamped in ethics allegations, prompting him to set up a legal defense fund. Kevin Bogardus, Scientific American, "Ethics Investigation into EPA Head Scott Pruitt Widens," 2 July 2018

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

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First Known Use of swamp


1624, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1784, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for swamp


perhaps alteration of Middle English sompe, from Middle Dutch somp morass; akin to Middle High German sumpf marsh, Greek somphos spongy

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Dictionary Entries near swamp





swamp angel

swamp apple

swamp ash

Statistics for swamp

Last Updated

14 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for swamp

The first known use of swamp was in 1624

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More Definitions for swamp



English Language Learners Definition of swamp

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: land that is always wet and often partly covered with water



English Language Learners Definition of swamp (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cover (something) with water

: to cause (someone or something) to have to deal with a very large amount of things or people at the same time


\ ˈswämp \

Kids Definition of swamp

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: wet spongy land often partly covered with water


swamped; swamping

Kids Definition of swamp (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to fill or cause to fill with water : sink after filling with water High waves swamped the boat. The boat swamped.

2 : overwhelm sense 1 She was swamped with work.

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Comments on swamp

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


to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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