\ 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 Like Velour, both Miss Malice and K.James repurposed garments for the zine shoot; Miss Malice sports a pinup-worthy bathing suit with a fiery red wig, while K.James rocks a kitschy floral shirt and swim trunks as the pool boy. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Drag Star Sasha Velour Created a Fabulous, Monstrous New Zine," 7 Oct. 2020 Elephant seals crowd the beaches, and gray and blue whales swim by on their annual migrations. Matthew Polvorosa Kline, National Geographic, "Unique elk in California may be killed under controversial plan," 30 Sep. 2020 The APCs then swim away under their own power, scooting through the waves and surf to capture a beachhead. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Watch a Giant Russian Crane Lower an Armored Vehicle Straight into the Water," 30 Sep. 2020 Residents swim and fish in the 330 lakes inside the city’s boundaries. Sara Miller Llana, The Christian Science Monitor, "The Sudbury model: How one of the world’s major polluters went green," 24 Sep. 2020 In the real world, sharks swim with their whole bodies, through constantly changing ocean conditions. Cara Giaimo, New York Times, "The Pros and Cons of Swimming With a Hammer Head," 20 Sep. 2020 Like any good beach party, the scene on the sidewalk Saturday around the shuttered Elbo Room was lively, with pounding music, dogs, and people milling about in floppy hats and swim trunks. Megan O'matz, sun-sentinel.com, "Broward bars’ continued closure protested: 'It doesn’t make any sense’," 19 Sep. 2020 The project — called Crystal Lagoons, Island Resort — will let visitors swim, paddle board, boogie board and scuba dive. Alison Steinbach, The Arizona Republic, "Arizonans could be surfing in Mesa if a proposed development moves forward," 19 Sep. 2020 From near and far, some will fly to him, others swim to the water’s edge and waddle to his bag of food. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Exploration Green gets $750,000 grant," 14 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That might not be wise unless Hurricane Delta turns the game into a swim meet. Cecil Hurt, The Courier-Journal, "SEC football power rankings: UK football sits near the bottom again," 7 Oct. 2020 Turner did not rule out the swim club resuming use of the natatorium. David Woods, The Indianapolis Star, "Swim club, locked out of pool, in dispute with Washington Township school board," 5 Oct. 2020 It's been a pretty good run on foot for St. Xavier cross country, but all banners and honors are compared to the notorious AquaBomber swim team, which has racked up 40 state titles. Scott Springer, The Enquirer, "St. Xavier's Nathan Mountain at summit of Ohio boys cross country," 29 Sep. 2020 Sommers, in his second career after 35 years as a Fairfax County cop, looks like a Magnum P.I.-Jimmy Buffett mash-up, his graying mustache offset by blue patterned swim trunks, unbuttoned fishing shirt, sun hat and aviator shades. Washington Post, "Off the North Carolina shore, a deep dive into history," 18 Sep. 2020 But for Arizona boys high school swim and dive, the same question is on everyone’s mind. Joshua Iversen, The Arizona Republic, "Here's a look at boys high school swim and dive teams to watch this fall," 12 Sep. 2020 Louise, 38, was photographed sporting a colorful bikini and white-rimmed sunglasses while Green, 47, had on a pair of swim trunks and a pair of black-rimmed sunglasses. Claudia Harmata, PEOPLE.com, "Brian Austin Green Reunites with Tina Louise for a Beach Date amid His Split from Megan Fox," 2 Sep. 2020 At the time of the shooting all Spivey was wearing was a pair of swim trunks and underwear, according to a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family. Ashley Remkus | Aremkus@al.com, al, "Assistant police chief shot and killed his neighbor, who had just survived brain surgery," 30 Aug. 2020 One of those boys was 17-year-old Jude Brobst, who is on the swim and dive team at Cedarburg High School. Jeff Rumage, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A Cedarburg teen and a Port Washington college student saved a Saukville man who nearly drowned while fishing," 31 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Facial coverings are required at all times, except while swimming or during the pre-swim shower. Lisa J. Huriash, sun-sentinel.com, "New reopening rules and more: Your guide to the latest coronavirus laws across South Florida," 8 Sep. 2020 Katie Ledecky enjoys her post-swim refreshments while still in the water. Lindsay Kimble, PEOPLE.com, "Katie Ledecky Swims Lap with Glass of Chocolate Milk on Her Head — Without Spilling It," 3 Aug. 2020 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

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

14 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Swim.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swim. Accessed 22 Oct. 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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