swim

1 of 3

verb

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

intransitive verb

1
a
: 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
3
a
: to float on a liquid : not sink
b
: to surmount difficulties : not go under
sink or swim, live or die, survive or perishDaniel 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

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

swim

2 of 3

noun

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

swim

3 of 3

adjective

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

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
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
But two months later, the orcas, fresh from the open seas, swim back into the Strait of Gibraltar. Tomas Weber, Rolling Stone, 18 May 2024 The loss of spaces to swim, along with the disrepair of swimming spaces in mostly Black neighborhoods, led to generations of people not swimming. Melissa Willets, Parents, 17 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for swim 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'swim.' 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

Verb

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

First Known Use

Verb

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

Noun

1599, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1924, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near swim

Cite this Entry

“Swim.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swim. Accessed 25 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

swim

1 of 2 verb
swam ˈswam How to pronounce swim (audio) ; swum ˈswəm How to pronounce swim (audio) ; swimming
1
: to move through water by moving arms, legs, fins, or tail
2
: to float on or in or be covered with or as if with a liquid
3
: to feel dizzy
my head swam in the stuffy room
4
: to cross by swimming
swim a stream
swimmer noun

swim

2 of 2 noun
1
: an act or period of swimming
2
: the main current of activity
in the swim of things

More from Merriam-Webster on swim

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