Definition of swish in English:

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Pronunciation: /swɪʃ/


1 [no object, with adverbial of direction] Move with a hissing or rushing sound: a car swished by
More example sentences
  • Serial lights illuminated the trees and the gentle sounds of water swishing in the swimming pool, formed the perfect backdrop for the kebabs and the many side dishes that went with them.
  • But at the moment, I am content to sit here and listen to the cars swishing through the water outside my windows.
  • We go around in anoraks and bicycle clips while they swish through in large cars.
1.1 [with object] Cause to move with a hissing or rushing sound: a girl came in, swishing her long skirts
More example sentences
  • Once again, the cat hissed, swishing his tail until he was out of sight.
  • She swished her skirts around her as she stalked around the dressing room, her head held high in the air.
  • He appeared to be practising moves, waving what I believed to be a sword around his head and swishing it in an arc around his body.
1.2Aim a swinging blow at something: he swished at a bramble with a piece of stick
More example sentences
  • I swished at him with the grey umbrella I had acquired when somebody left it behind at the pub weeks ago.
  • They swished at each other's heads, ducked and stabbed.
  • He had paced by the campfire the night before, kicking at the dirt with his boots, swishing at the flames with a long tree branch.
2 [with object] Basketball Sink (a shot) without the ball touching the backboard or rim.
Example sentences
  • After Arizona hit a three-pointer of its own, I again swished a shot from behind the arc and we trailed by only two with thirty seconds left to go.
  • During the next play Donavon swished a shot over that opposing player.
  • Kobe had swished the foul shot right before the bank, so it was fairly suspicious.


1A hissing or rustling sound: he could hear the swish of a distant car
More example sentences
  • For a full minute, the only sound was the swish of the mop against the tiled floor.
  • The only immediate sound was the gentle swish of my gown as I turned fiercely, looking down the hall and then the opposite side.
  • He winced as the rustle of his shirt caused a conspicuous swish to echo.
1.1A rapid swinging movement: the cow gave a swish of its tail
More example sentences
  • A girl would fall back, exhausted from sprinting, and I would meander my way to the front, making sure my pony tail did a swish to show that yes, I am doing better than you.
  • She'd hang around them briefly to make sure they were staying put, then would return to the house with a pleased smile and a satisfied swish of her tail.
  • With a swish of her tail, she made her way towards the center of the ring.
2 Basketball , informal A shot that goes through the basket without touching the backboard or rim.
Example sentences
  • Three shots, three swishes; these somehow lifted the sense of occasion.
  • The NBA's All-Star Weekend was a lovely experience, full of dunks and swishes.
3North American informal, offensive An effeminate male homosexual.
Example sentences
  • I'd rather be an honest, loud-spoken swish than a sugarcoated phoney.


British informal
Impressively smart and fashionable: dinner at a swish hotel
More example sentences
  • The hairs on the back of Jo's neck stood up when she stepped into the lift of a swish New York hotel to be confronted by three cool dudes in dark suits.
  • The couple were therefore ensconced in a swish Mayfair hotel last week.
  • We also want to go to Florida and stay in a swish hotel for two weeks in December.


Mid 18th century: imitative.

Words that rhyme with swish

bish, dish, fish, Frisch, Gish, knish, pish, squish, wish

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: swish

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