Pronunciation: (swel),[key] —v.,swelled, swol•len or swelled, swell•ing, —n., adj.
—v.i. 1. to grow in bulk, as by the absorption of moisture or the processes of growth.
2. Path.to increase abnormally in size, as by inflation, distention, accumulation of fluids, or the like: Her ankles swelled from standing. 3. to rise in waves, as the sea.
4. to well up, as a spring or as tears.
5. to bulge out, as a sail or the middle of a cask.
6. to grow in amount, degree, force, etc.
7. to increase gradually in volume or intensity, as sound: The music swelled. 8. to arise and grow within one, as a feeling or emotion.
9. to become puffed up with pride.
—v.t. 1. to cause to grow in bulk.
2. to cause to increase gradually in loudness: to swell a musical tone. 3. to cause (a thing) to bulge out or be protuberant.
4. to increase in amount, degree, force, etc.
5. to affect with a strong, expansive emotion.
6. to puff up with pride.
—n. 1. the act of swelling or the condition of being swollen.
2. inflation or distention.
3. a protuberant part.
4. a wave, esp. when long and unbroken, or a series of such waves.
5. a gradually rising elevation of the land.
6. an increase in amount, degree, force, etc.
7. a gradual increase in loudness of sound.
8. Music. a. a gradual increase (crescendo) followed by a gradual decrease (diminuendo) in loudness or force of musical sound.
b. the sign (< >) for indicating this.
c. a device, as in an organ, by which the loudness of tones may be varied.
9. a swelling of emotion within one.
10. Slang. a. a fashionably dressed person; dandy.
b. a socially prominent person.
—adj.Informal. 1. (of things) stylish; elegant: a swell hotel. 2. (of persons) fashionably dressed or socially prominent.
3. first-rate; fine: a swell party.