swim

verb
\ ˈswim \
swam\ ˈswam \; swum\ ˈswəm \; 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

swim

noun

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

swim

adjective

Definition of swim (Entry 3 of 3)

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

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Other Words from swim

Verb

swimmer noun

Synonyms for swim

Synonyms: Verb

reel, spin, turn, whirl

Synonyms: Noun

blackout, faint, insensibility, knockout, swoon, syncope

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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

Now here's the million dollar question: exactly who can swim in the pool? Leena Kim, Town & Country, "Hearst Castle's Iconic Neptune Pool Reopens After a 4-Year Renovation," 14 Nov. 2018 Ecologist and ornithologist Dave Andrews posted a video to Twitter expressing his surprise that the mammal, known for living in the Arctic and sub-Arctic, was swimming in the river near Kent. Chris Ciaccia, Fox News, "Beluga whale spotted swimming in the River Thames in shocking video," 25 Sep. 2018 In 2017, there were only 88 unprovoked shark attacks worldwide, five of which were fatal, compared to the hundreds of millions of people who swam safely in the oceans. Cassie Shortsleeve, Condé Nast Traveler, "Should I Worry About Sharks in the Northeast?," 21 Sep. 2018 As Love editor Katie Grand posted on Instagram, photographer Alasdair McLellan shot the model swimming around in a pond wearing just a red swimsuit bottom. Evelyn Wang, Teen Vogue, "Kendall Jenner Posed Topless for Love Magazine," 7 Aug. 2018 Turtles and frogs can be seen swimming in the water, while birds with nearby nests dive into the water. Rick Kambic, chicagotribune.com, "Libertyville pond to be cleaned, waterways inspected after spill at industrial park," 13 July 2018 The 14-year-old boy was swimming in chest-deep water just before noon near the 27th Avenue beach approach when the shark attack happened, Beach Safety Officials said. Kevin Williams. Wftv.com, ajc, "Teen attacked, bitten by shark in waters off northern Florida beach," 11 July 2018 Not everyone is comfortable with the idea of sharks swimming in such close proximity to them. Sophia Eppolito And Marek Mazurek, BostonGlobe.com, "On the Cape, tourists and locals take sharks in stride," 9 July 2018 However, swimming in Alaska lakes and ponds can also cause this uncomfortable thing called duck itch, or swimmer's itch. Alli Harvey, Anchorage Daily News, "Blast of heat reminds Alaskans how to keep their cool while playing hard," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

An elderly gem emporium owner asks the protagonist to lift him out of his wheelchair and carry him to the waters for a late-night swim. Michael Berry, San Francisco Chronicle, "Science fiction and fantasy books: ‘Belly Up,’ ‘What Should Be Wild,’ ‘84K’," 7 June 2018 Centennial Beach opens Naperville’s Centennial Beach opens for the season with an open swim at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 26, at 500 Jackson Ave. Michelle Mullins, Naperville Sun, "This Week in Naperville," 16 May 2018 Top amenities One of the resort’s most popular features is its unique pool area, which actually consists of two pools connected by a swim-through passage and underwater viewing window. azcentral, "Phoenix Marriott Resort Tempe at The Buttes," 9 May 2018 Looking happy to be taking a break from her rigorous Reputation Stadium Tour, Swift rocked a blue and white striped bikini while Alwyn, beer in hand, sported navy swim trunks. Rita Thompson, Billboard, "Taylor Swift Holds Hands With Boyfriend Joe Alwyn in Turks and Caicos: See the Sweet Pic," 10 July 2018 This pivotal moment could upgrade your swim-trunks game considerably. WSJ, "A Nearly Nude Take on James-Bond Style," 6 July 2018 Both Pamperin and Lehrer were wearing swim trunks, face masks and swim fins. sandiegouniontribune.com, "June 15, 1959: Shark attack," 15 June 2018 Sometimes even the ones who look best in swim trunks do bad jobs with things. Jordan Crucchiola, The Cut, "Samantha Bee Further Addresses Ivanka Trump Controversy: ‘I Do Take Responsibility When I Get It Wrong’," 1 June 2018 Wearing red swim trunks, a towel and a smile, Maluma could be the new spokesman for the tourist board. Madeleine Marr, miamiherald, "Maluma on the beach in a red swimsuit is everything we ever wanted from Spring Break | Miami Herald," 21 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

This will be the second location in the Cincinnati area for the popular swim school franchise that specializes in teaching children ages 4 months to 12-years-old to swim. Sheila Vilvens, Cincinnati.com, "Popular swim school plans to open this fall in Anderson Township," 12 June 2018 Both victims were teammates on Brockport High School's swim team, setting a record at a 2016 meet in the 200-meter freestyle relay. Fox News, "Former teammates found dead in burned car had been shot, authorities say," 13 Sep. 2018 Enroll children who are old enough in swim lessons. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Bode and Morgan Miller Open Up About Their Daughter’s Drowning Accident in New Interview," 30 July 2018 Thursday was Draco and Kyro Alexander’s first official swim lesson. Maria Elena Vizcaino, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Children learn to swim at Aquatica as part of 'World's Largest Swim Lesson'," 21 June 2018 Prizes include bike helmets, summer fun pails, a soccer ball, swim lesson sessions, New Britain Bees tickets and more. Courant Community, "Community News For The Wethersfield Edition," 12 June 2018 And almost all public pools offer swim lessons throughout the season. Helena Oliviero, ajc, "Your guide to some of metro Atlanta’s best public pools," 25 May 2018 Taking mother-daughter dressing to new heights, Ashley and her mom Linda Graham appear alongside one another wearing bikinis, one-pieces, and cover-ups from the swim brand's latest limited-edition capsule with Graham. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "Ashley Graham and Her Mom Star in New Swimsuits For All Campaign," 5 Feb. 2018 Work on the extensive overhaul of the swim center began in January. Steve Dreyer, Pomerado News, "Poway Swim Center won't open until after Labor Day," 27 June 2018

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

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

History and Etymology for swim

Verb

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

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Statistics for swim

Last Updated

12 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for swim

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

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More Definitions for swim

swim

verb

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)

swim

noun

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

: an act or period of swimming

swim

verb
\ ˈswim \
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

swim

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with swim

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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