Definition of swim in English:

swim

Line breaks: swim
Pronunciation: /swɪm
 
/

verb (swims, swimming; past swam /swam/; past participle swum /swʌm/)

[no object]
1Propel the body through water by using the limbs, or (in the case of a fish or other aquatic animal) by using fins, tail, or other bodily movement: they swam ashore he swims thirty lengths twice a week
More example sentences
  • The aquatic animals can't swim in shallow water areas.
  • There was a car on the bottom of a large body of water and fish were swimming around it.
  • Fish swam by her body, curious and their fins tickled her legs.
Synonyms
bathe, go swimming, take a dip, dip, splash around; float, tread water; dive, plunge; snorkel
1.1 [with object] Cross (a particular stretch of water) by swiming: she swam the Channel
More example sentences
  • They are believed to be the first women's team from Africa to swim the famous stretch.
  • Still, the final 100 meters should be swum strategically.
  • Marcus Hooper, the youngest person to complete the swim, swam the channel in 1979 at age 12.
1.2Float on or at the surface of a liquid: bubbles swam on the surface
More example sentences
  • My only complaint is the excessive amount of grease swimming on top of the cheese.
  • I'm one of those people that think good chili should have at least a little grease swimming on top of it.
1.3 [with object] Cause to float or move across water: the Russians were able to swim their infantry carriers across
More example sentences
  • I could put the rest of the headlamps one by one in my dry bag and swim them across.
  • It would be impossible to round up all the stock and swim them across the turbulent Snake River.
  • The boys would find the logs in the woods around the lake, cut them to the right sizes, and then swim them over to the raft and attach them.
2Be immersed in or covered with liquid: mashed potatoes swimming in gravy
More example sentences
  • It was swimming in a rich, wine-based sauce - too much liquid for my taste, but perfect for his.
  • It was certainly not swimming in a pool of oil and was covered with a fair enough amount of batter that it was still possible to taste the squid within.
  • The feral pigs were almost swimming in mud that was covered in slimy green algae.
Synonyms
be saturated in, be drenched in, be soaked in, be steeped in, be immersed in, be covered in, be full of
3Appear to reel or whirl before one’s eyes: Emily rubbed her eyes as the figures swam before her eyes
More example sentences
  • She was dizzy. The world swam before her eyes and rocked like the boat.
  • Black spots swam before her eyes and she felt herself slipping.
  • Suddenly the room began to swim before her eyes.
3.1Experience a dizzily confusing sensation in one’s head: the drink made his head swim
More example sentences
  • Her mind still swam with the confusion of the dream and she knew she had to find out what it meant.
  • Her head swam in confusion along with a massive headache that pulsed behind her eyes.
  • Every time she made any sudden movements her head swam like it was filled with water.

noun

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1An act or period of swimming: we went for a swim in the river
More example sentences
  • At Rs.250 per person, one can also have a swim in the outdoor swimming pool and enjoy the cadence of the Filipino band.
  • I really wanted to have a swim in my own swimming pool on my birthday.
  • We were both in the best shape of our lives, and this swim would have been easy.
2A pool in a river which is a particularly good spot for fishing: he landed two 5lb chub from the same swim
More example sentences
  • I selected a swim near the first spot that I had tried and again proceeded to fish a long line.
  • The road forks just before you reach the river and the best swims are to the right beyond the landing stage.
  • If you look at flowing swims in a river, you can get the wrong impression of the pace.

Origin

Old English swimman (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zwemmen and German schwimmen.

Usage

In standard English the past tense of swim is swam ( she swam to the shore) and the past participle is swum ( she had never swum there before). In the 17th and 18th centuries swam and swum were used interchangeably for the past participle, but this is not acceptable in standard modern English.

Phrases

in the swim

Involved in or aware of current affairs or events.
More example sentences
  • I loved being part of the madness of the rush hour commute - it made me feel in the swim, connected to the rest of the world, part of everyday society.
  • Hearing aids will put you back in the swim again.
  • It's good to be back in the swim of things!

swim with (or against) the tide

Act in accordance with (or against) the prevailing opinion or tendency.
More example sentences
  • Despite swimming against the tide, he has never lost his youthful energy.
  • One patron of the society said: ‘We've been swimming against the tide for years now.’
  • ‘Instead of swimming against the tide, there should be an attempt to make maximum advantage of it,’ he says.

Derivatives

swimmable

adjective
More example sentences
  • Our waters are cleaner, but 40 percent of them still don't meet the fishable / swimmable / drinkable standard.
  • Whatever, it is a drive from the nearest swimmable beach and, although the sea is an exquisite turquoise, your view also overlooks the local football pitch.
  • Temperatures reach the high twenties, the sea is bracing but easily swimmable and, in the south of Gran Canaria, the sun shines 350 days a year.

swimmer

noun
More example sentences
  • He said all swimmers are ordinary workers and they enjoy the feeling they get.
  • One big challenge for the young swimmers was racing in preliminaries and finals.
  • There was a large turn out for the event with a lot of young swimmers already showing great potential.

Definition of swim in:

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