wal·low | \ ˈwä-(ˌ)lō \
wallowed; wallowing; wallows

Definition of wallow 

(Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to roll oneself about in a lazy, relaxed, or ungainly manner hogs wallowing in the mud

2 : to billow forth : surge

3 : to devote oneself entirely especially : to take unrestrained pleasure : delight

4a : to become abundantly supplied : luxuriate a family that wallows in money

b : to indulge oneself immoderately wallowing in self-pity

5 : to become or remain helpless allowed them to wallow in their ignorance



Definition of wallow (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act or instance of wallowing

2a : a muddy area or one filled with dust used by animals for wallowing

b : a depression formed by or as if by the wallowing of animals

3 : a state of degradation or degeneracy

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Other words from wallow


wallower \ˈwä-lə-wər \ noun

Examples of wallow in a Sentence


elephants wallowing in the river Buffalo wallow in mud to keep away flies.

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Seven Seconds starts off in a place of tragedy and, over 10 episodes, wallows along as characters screw things up worse and worse. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Seven Seconds': TV Review," 21 Feb. 2018 Unlike a year ago, when the Bay Bridge Series was held in late July and both teams were wallowing in despair on their way to utter disaster, the A’s and the Giants are interestingly competitive this season. Ann Killion, SFChronicle.com, "Giants, A’s enter Bay Bridge Series on the rise," 12 July 2018 The multi-hyphenate has never been one to wallow, instead transforming would-be dramas into opportunities for bold new beauty notes. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Selena Gomez’s Latest Hair Transformation Is Proof She’s Just Fine, Thank You," 10 July 2018 Now, this being Boston, our natural instinct is to wallow in our bad luck, as if the Curse of the Bambino left Fenway Park for Fort Point, where GE is headquartered. Shirley Leung, BostonGlobe.com, "Boston’s bet on GE will still pay off," 27 June 2018 This was, above all, a layered, artistic statement that aspired to say something about the human condition, not wallow in petty gossip. Greg Kot, chicagotribune.com, "Joni Mitchell, Liz Phair and the musical blueprint for #MeToo," 14 June 2018 There’s an art to being bleak, doing it in such a way as to actually cheer up listeners as opposed to making them wallow in despondence. John Adamian, courant.com, "Decemberists Coming To College Street Music Hall," 2 June 2018 According to global poverty indexes, Papua New Guinea is down at the bottom, wallowing close to Djibouti and beneath Sudan; health care is patchy and electricity often nonexistent. Sophy Roberts, Condé Nast Traveler, "Navigating Tradition and Tourism in Papua New Guinea," 3 May 2018 Steamed clams wallow in an intensely corny broth made from husks, cobs, and juiced kernels. Mike Sula, Chicago Reader, "Saba is stealthy Italian that might surprise traditionalists," 31 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The baby elephant, nicknamed Happy, was trying to reach the wallow for a drink and a swim with his family. Richie Hertzberg, National Geographic, "This Baby Elephant Might Be Feeling 'Awkward'," 7 June 2018 The updated exhibit will feature mud wallows, grasses, pools, streams and naturalistic trees. Carol Motsinger, Cincinnati.com, "Cincinnati Zoo just got a $50 million gift. But it's just the beginning of a big plan," 7 June 2018 The prospect of another long wallow in the misery of Harry Hope's saloon should give even the most intrepid theatergoer pause. Charles Mcnulty, latimes.com, "A revelatory Denzel Washington in 'The Iceman Cometh'," 10 May 2018 Feral hogs, descendants of domestic pigs, also rip up wetlands, turning them into muddy wallows. Jennifer Larino, NOLA.com, "Army Corps starting levee patrols as Mississippi River rises," 26 Feb. 2018 Here, the meat inside is juicy from a wallow in sa-cha sauce, with its briny payload of dried shrimp and ground brill. New York Times, "At Happy Stony Noodle, a Childhood Favorite Anchors the Menu," 25 Jan. 2018 Late in his tenure as New Jersey’s governor, the onetime political rock star was reduced to an almost defiant wallow after becoming the most unpopular governor in the history of the state. Carrie Dann, NBC News, "Our Crazy Year in Politics: 2017," 31 Dec. 2017 At some point, the water level rose, burying the wallow in sediment, and preserving this priceless fecal Pompeii for posterity. Jacob Mikanowski, The Atlantic, "Reconstructing Lost Worlds With Poop," 19 Dec. 2017 For me, fall evokes a kind of present-tense nostalgia — a wallow in fleetingness, perhaps. Bruce Handy, New York Times, "Frightfully Good New Picture Books to Give Kids the Shivers, or the Giggles," 6 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wallow.' 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 wallow


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for wallow


Middle English walwen, from Old English wealwian to roll — more at voluble

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Statistics for wallow

Last Updated

20 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for wallow

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

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More Definitions for wallow



English Language Learners Definition of wallow

: to spend time experiencing or enjoying something without making any effort to change your situation, feelings, etc.

: to roll about in deep mud or water


wal·low | \ ˈwä-lō \
wallowed; wallowing

Kids Definition of wallow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to roll about in or as if in deep mud

2 : to seem to want to be unhappy



Kids Definition of wallow (Entry 2 of 2)

: a muddy or dust-filled area where animals roll about

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Comments on wallow

What made you want to look up wallow? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a magnificent or impressive array

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