\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

Keep scrolling for more

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


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Not long after that, Butcher picked up his camera and began shooting photos of Florida's cypress stands, of swamps and secluded beaches. Tamara Lush, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Everglades photographer Clyde Butcher explores surrealist artist Dali's roots," 18 June 2018 At least 10 children, including a 7-day-old baby, drowned in swamps as people fled. Cara Anna, Fox News, "Gang-rapes, lynchings: UN tallies latest South Sudan abuses," 10 July 2018 With the exception of a quick (and uninteresting) detour at the beginning of the second episode, the first three episodes of Preacher Season Three are entirely set in and around the decrepit old mansions nestled in the swamps of Louisiana. Scott Meslow, GQ, "It’s a Bloody Good Time to Jump Into AMC’s Preacher," 22 June 2018 He was killed in the swamps of Brooklyn 13 days later. Jonathan M. Pitts, baltimoresun.com, "Newly acquired letters illuminate the lives of Maryland's 'Old Line' soldiers," 23 Apr. 2018 The southern banks along Svensen Slough, a side channel of the Columbia River, have transformed over time from historic spruce swamp into fields diked off by European settlers for farming. Edward Stratton, The Christian Science Monitor, "Farmers reshape land along Columbia River to bring salmon back," 2 Apr. 2018 Lo and behold, the WeSaySo corporation has placed a factory over the swamp where bunch beetles mate. Justin Kirkland, Esquire, "Hear Me Out: Dinosaurs Predicted Our Present Reality," 26 Jan. 2018 To me, the total is a pittance and shows that the party formerly known as the Republican Party is now just another component of the swamp. WSJ, "Your Spending Reprieve Misses the Debt Big Picture," 20 Apr. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Tropical storm warnings were in effect from Anclote River, near Tampa, to the Alabama-Mississippi border, while officials warned that a powerful storm surge could swamp much of Florida's Gulf Coast. Tim Stelloh /, NBC News, "Storms swamp Memorial Day revelers from Florida to Maryland," 28 May 2018 More recently, extreme prices helped trigger an onslaught of new, shale oil production in the U.S., swamping markets. Anatoly Kurmanaev, WSJ, "Russia, OPEC Members to Discuss Easing Oil Output Cap," 24 May 2018 But Republican outside groups swamped the district. Alexander Burns And Jonathan Martin, BostonGlobe.com, "Lamb wins Pennsylvania House seat, giving Democrats a map for Trump Country," 14 Mar. 2018 Those figures swamped the spending of gun control advocacy groups, which mustered only about $19 million in that period. Michael Hiltzik, latimes.com, "'Thoughts and prayers' and fistfuls of NRA money: Why America can't control guns (a grim update)," 15 Feb. 2018 Scouting report: Alabama Coach Nick Saban is mired in another miserable summer, swamped with the decision between a four-star quarterback who led Alabama into last year’s national championship game and a five-star quarterback who won it. Jake Lourim, The Courier-Journal, "How Louisville football can (and can't) beat Alabama," 2 July 2018 Paying these taxes could prove a nightmare for small businesses, which could be swamped by the sheer complexity of the task. Hiawatha Bray, BostonGlobe.com, "Online tax bills are hugely complicated — more than you ever knew — and small firms are finding that out," 25 June 2018 West Sacramento's recent decision to accept greater responsibility for maintaining levees and drainage systems along the Sacramento River has some residents worried that the city could be swamped financially if the area floods. Kellen Browning, sacbee, "Could West Sacramento be forced to pay up if the river floods? Mayor and residents disagree," 18 June 2018 Apparently, authorities said, another passing vessel threw a heavy wake that swamped the overloaded Malibu ski boat. Detroit Free Press Staff, Detroit Free Press, "11 rescued after heavily overweight boat capsizes on Pine Lake," 5 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about swamp

Dictionary Entries near swamp





swamp angel

swamp apple

swamp ash

Statistics for swamp

Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for swamp

The first known use of swamp was in 1624

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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).


playful or foolish behavior

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!