Share this entry
American English: /swɛl/
British English: /swɛl/

Translation of swell in Spanish:

intransitive verb past participle swollen or (US) swelled

  • 1 1.1 (grow in size)
    her face began to swell
    se le empezó a hinchar la cara
    his knee had swollen (up) to twice its size
    la rodilla se le había hinchado al doble de su tamaño normal
    their bellies were swollen with hunger
    tenían los vientres hinchados por el hambre
    the sails swelled (out) in the wind
    las velas se hinchaban al viento
    Example sentences
    • Rash, itching, body swelling, breathing difficulties, possible localised red itchy mouth and throat, and even collapse.
    • Your back aches to high heaven, your smell has turned a different kind of sour, you are hungry and the welts on your body are swelling as your pores open up again.
    • So much was going on that his eyes flashed images and his body swelled with sweat, and he didn't care about what it was, but just about when he would see it.
    Example sentences
    • The village, its population swollen by refugees, had been thought safe by many local people.
    • The ranks of female players swelled by a similar amount to 132, up from 116 earlier in the decade.
    • Hundreds of thousands of refugees have swelled Monrovia's population to well over a million, scrabbling where they can for shelter and running short of food, water and medical supplies.
    1.2 (with emotion) swollen with pride she was swelling with rage
    estaba que estallaba de rabia
  • 2 (increase)
    order books are beginning to swell again
    los pedidos están aumentando otra vez
    the applause swelled to a crescendo
    los aplausos se fueron haciendo cada vez más fuertes

transitive verb past participle swollen or (US) swelled

  • 1 (increase in size)
    hacer crecer or subir
  • 2 (increase in number, volume)
    to swell the ranks of the unemployed
    engrosar las filas del desempleo


  • 1 1.1 (of sea) a heavy swell
    un fuerte oleaje
    una marejada
    Example sentences
    • As the yacht surged and rolled over the swell, every movement was magnified enormously at the top of the mast.
    • With airspeed picked up, the lumbering giant quit moving with the movement of the heavy swells and leaving one crest we ploughed into the next.
    • We watched swells break on the point and come around into the anchorage with curling graybeard tops.
    1.2 (surge, movement) a swell of indignation/interest
    una oleada de indignación/interés
    Example sentences
    • Sure, profits shrank, but that was more than offset by huge swells in sales volumes as new customers were drawn in.
    • The majority of town councillors continue to express support for the project and this is extremely important at a stage when there is a huge swell of community support.
    • I am not convinced that there is ‘a huge swell of community support’ for the Riverbank project.
    1.3 (protuberance, curve) (no plural) the low swell of the Welsh hills
    la suave ondulación de las colinas galesas
    the firm swell of her breasts/belly
    la turgencia de sus senos/su vientre [literary]
    Example sentences
    • Her gown cuts down so low behind her he can slip his hand beneath the silken material to cradle the soft swell of her buttocks.
    • The hill's lower slopes swell gradually to a gently rounded summit plateau, a bare, wind-scoured place that is haunted by the melancholic cry of the golden plover.
    • He could make out the swell of her left breast, harbouring a half moon crescent of dancing light as she did so.
  • 2 (Music) (symbol)
    (device on organ) regulador (masculine) del registro de sonido
    Example sentences
    • Most effective is the contrast created when Slean's piano-tinkling waltz-time verses bloom into symphonic swells of strings and timpani on the pop-smart choruses.
    • Traditionally, a musical climax is reached through the emotionally loaded swell of dynamics or harmonic resolution.
    • Staring with ‘Rolls and Waves of Ignorance’, Herren produces a song based on a series of orchestral swells, a smooth saxophone, and a gently plucked bass.


  • 1 (fine, excellent) (US) [colloquial]
    fenomenal [colloquial]
    bárbaro [colloquial]
    sensacional [colloquial]
    so you can come? swell! (as interjection)
    ¿así que puedes venir? ¡bárbaro or fantástico! [colloquial]
    Example sentences
    • I spent the weekend with Gene and Kindy in their swell new apartment.
    • This is a swell sound bite that ignores the reality that someone must pay for the ads, phone banks, direct mail and Web sites.
    • David is a swell multi-talented guy and it was a pleasure to finally meet him.
    Example sentences
    • Throwbacks to a swell fashion trend of yesteryear, they spice up any pair of shoes, from ballet flats to mules or slinky stilettos.
  • 2 (stylish) [colloquial] [dated]
    elegantón [colloquial]

Phrasal verbs

swell up

verb + adverb
my/her finger swelled up
se me/le hinchó el dedo
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.