Definition of swill in English:

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Pronunciation: /swil/


1 [with object] British Wash or rinse out (an area or container) by pouring large amounts of water or other liquid over or into it: I swilled out the mug
More example sentences
  • She scraped her untouched food into a black plastic rubbish sack and swilled the plate in a bowl of cold water in the sink.
  • Add the tinned tomatoes and swill out the tin with some stock or water
  • He preferred to spend his day swilling out the changing rooms in the leisure centre
1.1Cause (liquid) to swirl around in a container or cavity: she gently swilled her brandy around her glass
More example sentences
  • The waiter pours a glass of cognac, lights it, swills the flaming liquid around the glass, then tips it out.
  • He took a sip from his glass and swilled the brandy around in his mouth
  • He was befuddled as he swilled the tea around in his mug
1.2 [no object] (Of a liquid) move or splash about over a surface: the icy water swilled around us
More example sentences
  • A week's rainfall fell overnight, almost a normal month's total rained down over the week, and mountains of water came swilling down on Ilkley from the moors.
  • There is concern about members of public going into the site, particularly if there is water swilling around it.
  • For 10 days, they carried on with their lives while the polluted waters of the River Ouse swilled around the ground floor of the family's three-storey Victorian home in Friar Terrace in York.
2 [with object] Drink (something) greedily or in large quantities: they whiled away their evening swilling pints of beer (as adjective swilling) his beer-swilling pals
More example sentences
  • I worked it over, and couldn't avoid the conclusion that Jeff spent every evening swilling bourbon on my couch because I was his only friend.
  • He swills beer, smokes the odd fag or two and is perhaps ever so slightly overweight.
  • He shook his head after swilling another synthetic beer.
informal swig, knock back, toss off, put away, chug, chugalug
2.1Accompany (food) with large quantities of drink: a feast swilled down with pints of cider
More example sentences
  • Traditional Thai food was swilled down with a never-ending supply of cola and followed by ice cream.
  • ‘This is awfully thoughtful of you,’ I said to the girl dispensing the pills as I swilled down a handful.
  • This appalling litter problem is mainly caused by the unpleasant habit of so many people now who eat their meals in the street, swill them down with a can of drink and then finish off with the inevitable cigarette.


1Kitchen refuse and scraps of waste food mixed with water for feeding to pigs.
Example sentences
  • Government yesterday also placed an immediate ban on swill (kitchen refuse) bought from ships after it was established that the disease was carried in pig feed.
  • Most of its kitchens did not provide swill because it was too much trouble to separate suitable food from other waste.
  • Called swill or slop, this waste is used to feed pigs and other animals by farmers who were happy to get the cheap food.
pigswill, mash, slops, scraps, refuse, scourings, leftovers
archaic hogwash
1.1Alcohol of inferior quality: the beer was just warm swill
More example sentences
  • Some can produce individual wines of the highest quality, and they rarely produce undrinkable swill.
  • Always compliment her favorite wine, no matter what cheap swill she likes, and you are well on your way to exchanging phone numbers by the end of the night.
  • All they are guilty of trying to do is make wine taste a little better than the eye-watering, gout-inducing swill that it usually is.
2A large mouthful of a drink: a swill of ale
More example sentences
  • After taking deep swills of brandy from his flask, they shook hands and were off.
  • Ignoring his wife's concern, he took a large swill of the drink and savored the malted barley on his bitter tongue.
  • They both then paused, an awkward moment stepping into their time as they took a small swill from their drinks.



Pronunciation: /ˈswilər/
[usually in combination]: beer-swillers
More example sentences
  • It seems that our island castle has more than a few educated swillers from nearby colleges and universities.
  • Although, I've been warned that the majority of the 12 lads are not big swillers (US: drinkers), I've met a couple of them before who do like a drop.
  • Like a seasoned swiller's gut, the International Beer Festival keeps on growing.


Old English swillan, swilian (verb), of unknown origin. The noun dates from the mid 16th century.

Words that rhyme with swill

bill, Brazil, brill, Camille, chill, cookchill, dill, distil (US distill), downhill, drill, Edgehill, Estoril, fill, freewill, frill, fulfil (US fulfill), Gill, goodwill, grill, grille, hill, ill, instil, kill, krill, mil, mill, nil, Phil, pill, quadrille, quill, rill, Seville, shill, shrill, sill, skill, spadille, spill, squill, still, stock-still, thill, thrill, till, trill, twill, until, uphill, will

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: swill

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