swim

verb
\ 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

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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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

The one that doesn’t like to bathe or swim and can’t dance. Leslie Jamison, The New Republic, "The Remaking of Susan Sontag," 12 Sep. 2019 Originally developed for the agency’s fleet of space shuttles, a more advanced version of the system now passively stops harmful microbes in wastewater from swimming back into potable-water reservoirs onboard the ISS. Robin George Andrews, Scientific American, "Can Spaceflight Save the Planet?," 6 Sep. 2019 In addition to painting, Lipstiz loves to swim, skate, play tennis, basketball, reading, computers, music and dancing. Sergio Carmona, sun-sentinel.com, "JCC exhibit is ‘dream come true’ for artist born with Down syndrome," 29 Aug. 2019 Still, two shark attacks on people last summer caused dread among the many who love to swim at Cape Cod. David Owens, courant.com, "As people head to Cape Cod’s beaches for the final vacation weeks, white sharks are on their minds," 16 Aug. 2019 This includes an intense scene in which Tyler pulls a floundering Zak (the character can’t swim) across a river as a shrimp boat bears down on him. Ben Crandell, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Can Zack Gottsagen, a Boynton Beach actor with Down syndrome, change Hollywood?," 7 Aug. 2019 Patterson told the Orange County Register that the pod swam alongside his boat for just under half an hour. Andrea Romano, Sunset Magazine, "Watch This Spectacular Video of a Massive “Stampede” of Dolphins Near Laguna Beach," 30 July 2019 Ahh, vacation! A whole week in which to swim, sleep, lounge around with your paperback of choice, and recharge from your insanely demanding job. Sarah Todd, Quartz at Work, "Going on vacation won’t cure your burnout," 9 July 2019 Teen Vogue is celebrating the start of summer with a series of stories on all things swim. Sara Radin, Teen Vogue, "Why Are We So Obsessed With Blogger Swimwear Brands?," 21 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The hype leading up to this swim has been a little unnerving. Matthew Robinson, CNN, "Cancer survivor becomes first person to swim English Channel four times non-stop," 17 Sep. 2019 The last of the spawning spring-summer Chinook salmon arrived here in June after a herculean 800-mile upstream swim. Jim Robbins, New York Times, "How Long Before These Salmon Are Gone? ‘Maybe 20 Years’," 16 Sep. 2019 No swim bans were reported as a result of those sightings. BostonGlobe.com, "killed by a shark a year ago," 16 Sep. 2019 Central Principal Bill Walsh said with ten 40-yard lanes, the pool could be divided and more than one swim class or practice could proceed at the same time. Kimberly Fornek, chicagotribune.com, "Hinsdale District 86 Board agrees to build 10-lane pool at Central, larger than promised in referendum," 14 Sep. 2019 Breckynn Willis, a member of the swim team at Dimond High School in Anchorage, Alaska, had competed in four events at a swim competition Friday. Cnn.com Wire Service, The Mercury News, "Teen swimmer disqualified over how her swimsuit fit," 12 Sep. 2019 The swim meet at Dimond High School on Friday was not the first of the season, according to the Anchorage School District. Christopher Brito, CBS News, "This high school swimmer won a competition. Then she was disqualified for a "suit wedgie."," 10 Sep. 2019 One quick tip: try not to remember Kristin's infamous swim when enjoying the property's pool. Darla Guillen Gilthorpe, Houston Chronicle, "'Dallas'-famous Southfork Ranch now welcoming overnight guests," 5 Sep. 2019 Enter an aggressively shirtless Jude Law strutting through HBO and Sky’s latest The New Pope trailer in nothing but a charming smirk and skin-hugging swim briefs. Nick Romano, EW.com, "Jude Law is having a hot pope summer in HBO's The New Pope teaser trailer," 28 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Breckynn Willis, a member of the swim team at Dimond High School in Anchorage, Alaska, had competed in four events at a swim competition Friday. Cnn.com Wire Service, The Mercury News, "Teen swimmer disqualified over how her swimsuit fit," 12 Sep. 2019 Breckynn Willis, a member of the swim team at Dimond High School in Anchorage, Alaska, had competed in four events at a swim competition Friday. Cnn.com Wire Service, The Mercury News, "Teen swimmer disqualified over how her swimsuit fit," 12 Sep. 2019 Breckynn Willis, a member of the swim team at Dimond High School in Anchorage, Alaska, had competed in four events at a swim competition Friday. Ryan Prior, CNN, "A young swimmer was disqualified after a race for how her swimsuit fit her body. The outcry led to a reversal," 11 Sep. 2019 In the opening minutes, University of Florida swim team star Haley Keller (played by Kaya Scodelario) drives back to her hometown in the middle of a Category 5 hurricane to check in on her worryingly incommunicado dad, Dave (Barry Pepper). Noel Murray, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Giant gators and a mega-hurricane are undermined by daddy issues in ‘Crawl’," 12 July 2019 Her kids were two of about 180 children between the ages of 3 and 12 to participate in the swim lesson throughout the afternoon event. Jane Stueckemann, Houston Chronicle, "Dozens learn water safety tips at session in The Woodlands," 20 June 2019 Though swimming in District rivers is banned, officials began allowing permitted swim events in the Potomac in 2012 and the Anacostia last year (though one has not been held). Justin Wm. Moyer, Washington Post, "Rock Creek is Washington’s ‘dirtiest’ waterway. New testing might help nurse it back to health.," 9 Aug. 2019 Sun broke down in tears surrounded by Chinese media after his defeat, while the Chinese swim team manager Xu Qi demanded an apology. Julia Hollingsworth, CNN, "Chinese swimmer Sun Yang to rival Mack Horton: 'You must respect China'," 22 July 2019 Bear Creek Lake Park: Located just east of Morrison, Bear Creek has great trail running as well as asphalt roads and concrete bike paths (and a swim beach). John Meyer, The Know, "The best trail running routes along the Front Range," 22 July 2019

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

5 Oct 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 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

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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