From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishswellswell1 /swel/ ●○○ verb (past tense swelled, past participle swollen /ˈswəʊlən $ ˈswoʊ-/) 1 size [intransitive] (also swell up)BIG to become larger and rounder than normal – used especially about parts of the body → swollen Her ankle was already starting to swell. The window frame had swollen shut.2 amount/number [intransitive, transitive]INCREASE IN NUMBER OR AMOUNT to increase in amount or numberswell to The crowd swelled to around 10,000. The river was swollen with melted snow.swell the ranks/numbers of something (=increase the number of people in a particular situation) Large numbers of refugees have swollen the ranks of the unemployed.3 → swell with pride/anger etc4 shape [intransitive, transitive] (also swell out)BIG to curve or make something curve The wind swelled the sails.5 sound [intransitive] literaryCLOUD/NOISY to become louder Music swelled around us.6 sea [intransitive]UP to move suddenly and powerfully upwards → groundswell→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpusswell• When the granulomas infiltrate the root of the lungs, nearby lymph nodes swell and produce the X-ray abnormality your doctor saw.• The doors always swell in the winter.• Opposite were the elegant backs of Victorian houses, their grey bricks swelling into bow-windows, the roof-tiles glistening like wet flint.• It is a star in serious trouble, with bright bloated lobes of gas swelling off it, announcing its death throes.• The river was swelling rapidly with the constant rain.• Put some ice on your knee before it swells up.• I was a big guy in those days and my legs swelled up.• If it is physically restrained from swelling when it wants to swell, very considerable pressures are built up.swell the ranks/numbers of something• But have the erstwhile long stay patients swelled the ranks of homeless people?• It ended in the 1930s when another depression swelled the numbers of itinerant workers.• The ships rode at anchor, their crews merely swelling the ranks of the spectators.• Higher insurance costs will make it harder to afford coverage, swelling the numbers of uninsured.swellswell2 noun 1 [singular]TTWWATER the way the sea moves up and down The sea wasn’t rough, but there was a heavy swell (=large movements of the water).2 [singular] a situation in which something increases in number or amountswell of the growing swell of anti-government feeling a swell of pride3 [singular]CAPM an increase in sound level, especially in music SYN crescendo4 [singular]ROUND the roundness or curved shape of something the firm swell of her breasts5 [countable] old-fashionedIMPORTANT a fashionable or important person
Examples from the Corpusswell• A strong north-westerly wind built up a fifteen-foot swell which came rolling down on us, crests breaking.• A heavy swell came at them out of the thick darkness.• The scandal has produced swells of protest against him.• One such dawn breaks at Ocean Beach and the swell is up.• The launch, however, behaved like a well-trained work-horse and merely rose and fell with the swell.• the swell of her breasts• The swell had built steadily over the past half-hour.• The eternal westerly swell rolled lazily across our wake and wiped out the last trace of our intrusion.heavy swell• A heavy swell came at them out of the thick darkness.• The timing in the heavy swell had to be carefully judged.swellswell3 adjective American English old-fashioned GOOD/EXCELLENTvery good SYN great You look swell!
Examples from the Corpusswell• By noon, the swell at the Bay had built to eighteen to twenty feet.• But Dobler said he really was a swell guy.• It was a swell place to raise onions.• If you can avoid heroin addiction and motorcycle accidents, you might have a swell time.• The ground dipped between two minor cliffs, and the architect must have figured they would make swell windbreaks.Origin swell1 Old English swellan