\ ˈswish How to pronounce swish (audio) \
swished; swishing; swishes

Definition of swish

 (Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

: to move, pass, swing, or whirl with the sound of a swish

transitive verb

1 : to move, cut, or strike with a swish the horse swished its tail
2 : to make (a basketball shot) so that the ball falls through the rim without touching it swished a 3-point jumper


plural swishes

Definition of swish (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : a prolonged hissing sound (as of a whip cutting the air)
b : a light sweeping or brushing sound
2 : a swishing movement
3 slang, usually disparaging + offensive : an effeminate gay man



Definition of swish (Entry 3 of 3)

Other Words from swish


swisher noun
swishingly \ ˈswi-​shiŋ-​lē How to pronounce swish (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for swish

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of swish in a Sentence

Verb He watched as the windshield wipers swished back and forth. The horse's tail swished back and forth. The horse swished its tail back and forth. Noun the steady swish of the windshield wipers the mare brushed away the flies with a sweeping swish of her tail Adjective a trendy boutique filled with swish accessories for the urban fashionista See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Tiny, transparent sea angels that swish up and down the water column with winged strokes. Tara Duggan, San Francisco Chronicle, 29 Mar. 2022 The Oscars used to be one of the few times viewers could see a moving Tom Hanks speech and watch the world’s biggest stars swish down the red carpet in designer gowns. Ryan Faughnder, Los Angeles Times, 25 Mar. 2022 Scrap all that, because Morris’ shot did swish cleanly through the net. Ron Kroichick, San Francisco Chronicle, 17 Feb. 2022 Run herbs under running water or swish through a bowl of cool water. Washington Post, 9 Aug. 2021 After watching Murray swish a clutch, step-back, 27-foot 3-pointer over his outstretched arm, Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo turned back to give the Spurs point guard what appeared to be a look of appreciation and respect. Tom Orsborn, San Antonio Express-News, 31 Oct. 2021 He was challenged on his next 3-point attempt but managed to adjust in mid-air, square his body and swish that one, too. David Woods, The Indianapolis Star, 21 Oct. 2021 Neptale Hernandez, 45, led a group of four men, carrying a machete to swish near any large air bubbles that might be signs of a lurking alligator. Washington Post, 31 Aug. 2021 If in doubt, stick your finger in the flower’s center and swish it around. Jeanette Marantos, Los Angeles Times, 19 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun After Kyle Korver of the Cavaliers missed an open 3-pointer, Durant spotted up from the top of the arc — swish — for a 114-113 lead. Scott Cacciola, New York Times, 8 June 2017 That goes especially for star Johnny Depp, whose Captain Jack Sparrow remains an unchanging and buffoonish blend of swash and swish. Robert W. Butler, kansascity.com, 24 May 2017 Swish swish sounds like it is written by 8 yr old kid or Donald Trump. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, 23 May 2017 In a hurricane, those waves can come in quick, short bursts as powerful thunderstorms around the storm’s eye wall swish air up and down like a plunger in a toilet bowl. Jenny Staletovich, miamiherald, 17 May 2017 The swish was almost inevitable from the area of the court that is his sweet spot. Bill Livingston, cleveland.com, 8 May 2017 The icing on the cake was the little details that matter: the follow through, the curling down of fingers, the backspin, the holding of the follow through — and of course, the swish. Mirin Fader, Orange County Register, 1 Feb. 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The enduring legacy of the pandemic is also reflected in some of the nominees, including the swish Switch seat, from Style and Design, which imagines a premium economy cabin with fewer passengers spread across armchair-like seats. Francesca Street, CNN, 18 Mar. 2022 D’Angelo Russell’s driving scoop with 3.6 seconds left, only to see Ingram’s rainbow 3 from more than 25 feet swish through the net for the win. San Francisco Chronicle, 11 Jan. 2022 The swish new boutique hotel will have 60 keys; a revival of the iconic restaurant, Olympos Naoussa (pictured); and plenty of timeless style. Nicole Trilivas, Forbes, 26 Dec. 2021 For all 17 months of her life, Yarielis Paulino-Pepin has only known the warm nest of a hospital room, where gentle lullabies tinkle amid the hum, swish, and beeping of machines keeping her alive. Amanda Milkovits, BostonGlobe.com, 24 Dec. 2021 From Emily’s swish sea-view suite to the water’s edge swimming pool and gleaming lobby, the grand residence at the tip of the Cap Ferrat peninsula encapsulates the timeless luxury of the French Riviera, Seibel says. Chrissie Mcclatchie, Condé Nast Traveler, 22 Dec. 2021 These include an encounter at the barbershop, where the requisite wise barber (Esau Pritchett) lays down the law about respecting everyone, even the swish gentrifier played (with brio) by Bryan Terrell Clark. Helen Shaw, Vulture, 13 Oct. 2021 Fill with cool water and swish rice around a few times with your hand to release starch. Leela Punyaratabandhu, Bon Appétit, 3 Aug. 2021 Porter’s jumper is a swish, giving Denver a 53-51 lead. oregonlive, 23 May 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'swish.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of swish


1756, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense


1820, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1766, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for swish




origin unknown

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Dictionary Entries Near swish



swish cymbal

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Statistics for swish

Last Updated

9 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Swish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swish. Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for swish


\ ˈswish How to pronounce swish (audio) \
swished; swishing

Kids Definition of swish

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to make, move, or strike with a soft sweeping or brushing sound The horse swished its tail.



Kids Definition of swish (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a soft sweeping or brushing sound
2 : a movement that produces a sweeping or brushing sound

More from Merriam-Webster on swish

Nglish: Translation of swish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of swish for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about swish


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