Definition of swot in English:

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Pronunciation: /swät/
British informal

verb (swots, swotting, swotted)

[no object]
Study assiduously: kids swotting for exams
More example sentences
  • Just last week the wonderfully named teenager Seb Clover sailed solo across the Atlantic at a time when most of his peers are swotting for exams.
  • Serves me right for reading the Economist when I should have been swotting for my year 2 exams.
  • I suppose I should be swotting madly to be prepared for the big meeting with the supervisor tomorrow, however.


A person who studies hard, especially one regarded as spending too much time studying.
Example sentences
  • That speech confirms what many people feel and fear about politicians: that they were the most despised classmates at school - the swot, the precocious prat, the political trainspotter.
  • The unloved school swots of the 20th century have blossomed into the alpha group of the 21st.
  • Even in Shakespeare's day, school was for girlie swots rather than naughty boys.

Phrasal verbs

swot up on

British informal Study (a subject) intensively, especially in preparation for something: teachers spend their evenings swotting up on jargon (swot something up) I’ve always been interested in old furniture and I’ve swotted it up a bit
More example sentences
  • The new site offers visitors not just information on the school, but a chance to swot up on subjects as well.
  • Hobbs, who left school at 16 without a qualification to his name, defied his detractors by swotting up on what makes a successful health club.
  • She likes Charles Dickens' novels - Nicholas Nickleby is her favourite - and after choosing her specialist subject she then had a fortnight to swot up on the writer.



Example sentences
  • It used to be perceived as a really swotty thing to enjoy reading but authors such as her have made books more accessible and made reading enjoyable.
  • When he read the book on the recommendation of his daughter Eleanor, he was especially drawn to Harry's swotty classmate Hermione, the character Rowling has said is most closely based on herself.
  • But, at the same time, I wouldn't deliberately go looking for an institution that churned out swotty kids who took their A-levels at 12.


Mid 19th century: dialect variant of sweat.

  • A variation of sweat (Old English) that started life as army slang. Swot was first ‘studying, school, or college work’, and referred especially to mathematics. This led to its use to describe someone who studies hard or excessively.

Words that rhyme with swot

allot, begot, Bernadotte, blot, bot, capot, clot, cocotte, cot, culotte, dot, forgot, garrotte (US garrote), gavotte, got, grot, hot, jot, knot, lot, Mayotte, motte, not, Ott, outshot, plot, pot, rot, sans-culotte, Scot, Scott, shallot, shot, slot, snot, sot, spot, squat, stot, swat, tot, trot, undershot, Wat, Watt, what, wot, yacht

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: swot

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