\ ˈswim How to pronounce swim (audio) \
swam\ ˈswam How to pronounce swam (audio) \; swum\ ˈswəm How to pronounce swum (audio) \; swimming

Definition of swim

 (Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

1a : to propel oneself in water by natural means (such as movements of the limbs, fins, or tail)
b : to play in the water (as at a beach or swimming pool)
2 : to move with a motion like that of swimming : glide a cloud swam slowly across the moon
3a : to float on a liquid : not sink
b : to surmount difficulties : not go under sink or swim, live or die, survive or perish— Daniel Webster
4 : to become immersed in or flooded with or as if with a liquid potatoes swimming in gravy
5 : to have a floating or reeling appearance or sensation

transitive verb

1a : to cross by propelling oneself through water swim a stream
b : to execute in swimming
2 : to cause to swim or float



Definition of swim (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a smooth gliding motion
2 : an act or period of swimming
3 : a temporary dizziness or unconsciousness
4a : an area frequented by fish
b : the main current of activity in the swim

Definition of swim (Entry 3 of 3)

: of, relating to, or used in or for swimming

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Synonyms for swim

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of swim in a Sentence

Verb He's teaching the children to swim. She swam across the pool. He swam the English Channel. The racers must swim the backstroke. We watched the fish swimming in the river. Ducks swam in the pond. I felt weak and my head was swimming. The room swam before my eyes. Noun the merest glimpse of blood sends him into a swim
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The longer swims might also make the adult penguins more vulnerable to deadly stress and predation. Eli Kintisch, Science | AAAS, "Why did nearly a million king penguins vanish without a trace?," 19 Mar. 2020 In fact, the couple is currently swimming in invites. Emily Tannenbaum, Glamour, "Margot Robbie Just Invited Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to L.A. for Dinner," 17 Feb. 2020 In 2020, those who will be able to safely swim are basically guaranteed to rock this Hot Girl trend. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Tana Mongeau Wore the V-Wire Bikini Trend Instagram is Obsessed With," 6 May 2020 Such separation extended to most places to swim in Indianapolis. Sarah Bowman, IndyStar, "The White River: Cleanup follows decades of civil rights abuses. Now who will benefit?," 2 May 2020 The Humboldt Squid, which swims in the Humboldt Current? Alicia Ault, Smithsonian Magazine, "This Mastodon is a Centerpiece of an Art Exhibition. Why?," 1 May 2020 At Ocean Mesa, the kids can frolic in the surf on the beach, swim in a heated pool, run around a playground, hike through the oaks, or just hang out in the tent, RV, or cabin. Dakota Kim, Sunset Magazine, "Popular California Campgrounds Are Already Booked. Here Are the Equally Awesome Alternatives," 24 Jan. 2020 Though the game swims in incredible atmosphere and hinges on a cool premise—you're a gig-economy taxi driver in a dystopian future, determined to uncover a mystery—this isn't a steering-wheel drive through busy streets. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Neo Cab is the dystopian gig-economy Crazy Taxi we’ve always wanted," 6 Oct. 2019 For four decades, there has been Brophy and the only suspense to the boys swimming season of who would finish second. Richard Obert, azcentral, "Arizona's 10 greatest high school sports dynasties: Swimming," 23 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Not the swim meet in Mission Viejo that had originally filled her calendar for this past weekend, but a virtual game, Cards Against Humanity, with a group of roughly 20 relatives, mostly cousins, organized by her older brother, Michael. Karen Crouse, New York Times, "Katie Ledecky Is Swimming, and Studying," 26 Apr. 2020 The pinnacle experience of Discovery Cove is the dolphin swim. al, "Swim with sharks, dolphins at this Florida resort," 30 Jan. 2020 When they were finished playing tennis at Landa Park in New Braunfels, Mike Riley and his wife, Dee, usually jumped in the Comal River for a swim. Greg Luca, ExpressNews.com, "Alliance’s downfall left San Antonio Commanders coaches searching for new homes," 22 Apr. 2020 Rich Fury/VF20Getty Images Chrissy Teigen posted the cutest photos of John Legend with Luna and Miles Stephens, all ready for a swim. Emily Dixon, Marie Claire, "John Legend and Son Miles Twinned in Matching Swim Shorts," 19 Mar. 2020 Each day after The Journal was published, Fibich went for a swim at the YMCA, returning to the newsroom smelling of chlorine. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Howard Fibich helped shape The Milwaukee Journal for decades," 3 Mar. 2020 Six entrants at a time will start with a 10-minute swim in the natatorium’s pool, followed by a 30-minute session on a spin bike and finishing with a 20-minute run on the indoor track. John Delapp, Houston Chronicle, "Weather will be no problem at Pearland triathlon," 23 Jan. 2020 Whole snapper a la Veracruz takes well to a roll in corn flour seasoned with cumin, black pepper and paprika and a quick swim in hot canola oil. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, "The more Mexican, the merrier, with the arrival of Anafre," 26 Dec. 2019 Water temperature was linked to the death of American swimmer Fran Crippen in 2010 at a distance swim in the United Arab Emirates. Stephen Wade And Andrew Dampf, chicagotribune.com, "Pressure to move Tokyo Olympics open-water venue," 4 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective This morning, Reebok announced its latest footwear launch with Chromat, which made its runway debut during the swim brand’s Spring 2020 New York Fashion Week show. Eliza Huber, refinery29.com, "The New Chromat x Reebok Collab Comes With A Post-Apocalyptic CGI Campaign," 15 May 2020 Above, swim practice in Mission Viejo, Calif., this week. Remy Tumin, New York Times, "Reopening Guidelines, Michael Flynn, Yeast: Your Thursday Evening Briefing," 7 May 2020 At Lawrence North: North Central won all 11 swim events for 555 points and a 13th straight title. David Woods, Indianapolis Star, "Carmel girls hit near-perfect sectional score, stay in lane for another swim title," 9 Feb. 2020 Now, their last year of middle school has been cut short and any celebratory activities for her boys — like eighth grade night for their swim team, Evan's final choir concert and Holden's science team competition— are either cancelled or postponed. Sorell Grow, Indianapolis Star, "How fifth, eighth graders are preparing to leave elementary, middle school away from peers," 21 Apr. 2020 Immigration attorneys have sported swim goggles and masks borrowed from friends to meet with clients in detention centers. Fortune, "Close immigration courts? Lawyers and judges push to stop in-person hearings amid coronavirus spread," 26 Mar. 2020 Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District athletic and swim centers are closed due to coronavirus distancing requirements until April 28, the district said. oregonlive, "Athletic and swim centers closed, THPRD says," 23 Mar. 2020 Between them, adult and family lap pools host a swim team, master classes, swim lessons and a one-mile swim club. Tracy Maness, Houston Chronicle, "Fitness club VillaSport Cinco Ranch set to open March 5," 28 Feb. 2020 His daughter can’t practice with her swim team — a big change from her usual schedule of swimming five or six days a week. Samantha Masunaga, Los Angeles Times, "Work, teach, repeat: How working parents are coping under coronavirus," 2 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'swim.' 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 swim


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


1599, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1924, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for swim


Middle English swimmen, from Old English swimman; akin to Old High German swimman to swim

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Time Traveler for swim

Time Traveler

The first known use of swim was before the 12th century

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Statistics for swim

Last Updated

31 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Swim.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swim. Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for swim


How to pronounce swim (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of swim

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to move through water by moving your arms and legs
: to move through or across (an area of water) by swimming
: to swim by using (a specified method)



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

: an act or period of swimming


\ ˈswim How to pronounce swim (audio) \
swam\ ˈswam \; swum\ ˈswəm \; swimming

Kids Definition of swim

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to move through or in water by moving arms, legs, fins, or tail
2 : to cross by swimming He swam the river.
3 : to float on or in or be covered with or as if with a liquid The corn was swimming in butter.
4 : to be dizzy : move or seem to move in a dizzying way My head swam in the hot room.

Other Words from swim

swimmer noun



Kids Definition of swim (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act or period of swimming

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More from Merriam-Webster on swim

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for swim

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with swim

Spanish Central: Translation of swim

Nglish: Translation of swim for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of swim for Arabic Speakers

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