\ 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



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 homosexual



Definition of swish (Entry 3 of 3)

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Other Words from swish


swisher noun
swishingly \ ˈswi-​shiŋ-​lē How to pronounce swishingly (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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Blue Demons built a 44-34 halftime lead after Romeo Weems swished a 3-pointer at the buzzer. David Woods, Indianapolis Star, "No. 5 Butler drops second straight Big East contest with road loss to DePaul," 18 Jan. 2020 In the process of swishing his final 3-pointer Thursday, Mills lost his balance trying to maneuver around Brooklyn’s Garrett Temple. Jeff Mcdonald, ExpressNews.com, "Patty Mills has been the Spurs’ cheerleader and lifesaver," 20 Dec. 2019 The game-winning drive was set up by a stunning sequence in which Oubre converted a four-point play with 32.0 seconds left, swishing a corner three-pointer off an inbound pass as he was fouled by Kent Bazemore. oregonlive, "Damian Lillard game-winner helps Portland Trail Blazers beat Phoenix Suns 111-110: Game rewind," 17 Dec. 2019 Olmsted Falls freshman Paige Kohler swished two free throws to knot the score at 53 with 2:35 to play, but the Greenmen opened a small gap in the final minute when Sellers grabbed her own miss and was fouled on the putback basket. cleveland, "Aurora girls basketball fights back from early deficit, outlasts Olmsted Falls, 60-55," 30 Nov. 2019 The best example was late in the second quarter when Sabonis anticipated the double, got the ball out quickly and two extra passes later Holiday spotted up for an open 3 that swished. J. Michael, Indianapolis Star, "Indiana Pacers hold off energized New York Knicks to complete 3-2 trip," 8 Dec. 2019 Each of these tiny blobs consists of 8,000 rubidium atoms that Steinhauer has cooled to near absolute zero and then swished around with a laser. Wired, "A Scientist's Tiny Black Hole Brings the Cosmos Into the Lab," 8 Nov. 2019 Smart lobbed him the ball and Tatum faked left, then dribbled right to create space, launching a 21-footer that swished. BostonGlobe.com, "It was one of those nights for Jayson Tatum, the Celtics third-year forward who is soaring toward a maximum contract next summer. Boston’s hopes for reaching the Eastern Conference Finals, to surpass last year’s disappointing finish, is for Tatum to take that next major step to prominence.," 2 Nov. 2019 After swishing three three-pointers during a breathtaking 86-second outburst that transformed a three-point Blazers deficit into a five-point edge, Lillard morphed into a facilitator. Joe Freeman, oregonlive, "Portland Trail Blazers emboldened by early-season ‘fight’ and ‘character’," 31 Oct. 2019 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, "Late Surge Puts Warriors One Step From Postseason Perfection," 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, "That sinking feeling: ‘Pirates of the Caribbean 5’," 24 May 2017 Swish swish sounds like it is written by 8 yr old kid or Donald Trump. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, "Watch Katy Perry Finally Explain Taylor Swift Beef, Sing 'Swish, Swish' & More Hits in 'Carpool Karaoke'," 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, "UM researchers find new way to measure hurricanes: ‘gravity waves’," 17 May 2017 The swish was almost inevitable from the area of the court that is his sweet spot. Bill Livingston, cleveland.com, "Kyrie Irving's late burst shows Cleveland Cavaliers' firepower: Bill Livingston (photos, video)," 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, "Baker relishes scoring role for Capistrano Valley," 1 Feb. 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective In the heart of D3, Hotel des Arts is opulent and rather swish, not to mention home to one of the best rooftop bars in town (see the drinks section above). Marianna Cerini, Condé Nast Traveler, "Ho Chi Minh City: Where to Eat, Drink, Stay, and Play," 24 Dec. 2019 Dress rehearsals were taking place inside Amy Morton’s swish new restaurant, Stolp Island Social, attached to the theater. Chris Jones, chicagotribune.com, "Review: Sparkling ‘Beauty and the Beast’ shows how Paramount Theatre has helped transform Aurora," 22 Nov. 2019 Opened in 2005 but relocated into a new space just last year, a maze of secluded booths and private dining rooms unfolds beyond the swish black marble counter wrapping the open kitchen that diners first encounter upon entering. Davey Young, Condé Nast Traveler, "What To Do in Shibuya: Our Guide," 5 Mar. 2018 This week’s openings Branzino | Rittenhouse Luan Toto’s swish Italian BYOB is back at 261 S. 17th St., two years after a fire. Michael Klein, Philly.com, "Let's Eat: Smile and order lunch," 4 Apr. 2018 At night, a few would wait outside a swish restaurant in my neighborhood. Lane Hartill, The Christian Science Monitor, "A journey from distrust to teammates," 4 Apr. 2018 More: Michigan basketball's miracle win steeped in swag, ended in swishRobinson was on the bench after fouling out against Houston, when Jordan Poole hit a miraculous 3-pointer. Jeff Seidel, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan basketball: Duncan Robinson's defense put to test in Sweet 16," 22 Mar. 2018 Manhattan’s hospitals, with their swish reception desks and menus, can seem like hotels compared with London’s bleached Victorian structures. The Economist, "Which firms profit most from America’s health-care system," 15 Mar. 2018 The Best All-Arounder Surface Laptop (i5, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD), $1,299 This device isn't as swish as the transforming, flexible computers that made the Surface brand famous, but bear with me for a second. Wired Staff, WIRED, "Which Microsoft Surface Should You Buy?," 14 Mar. 2018

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.

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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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Time Traveler for swish

Time Traveler

The first known use of swish was in 1756

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Statistics for swish

Last Updated

23 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Swish.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swish. Accessed 27 January 2020.

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More Definitions for swish


How to pronounce swish (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of swish

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to move with or cause (something) to move with a soft sweeping or brushing sound



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

British, informal : fashionable and expensive


\ 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on swish

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for swish

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with swish

Spanish Central: Translation of swish

Nglish: Translation of swish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of swish for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about swish

Comments on swish

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one that suddenly gains wealth or power

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