From Middle English dwellen (“delay, live, remain, persist”), from Old English dwellan (“to mislead, deceive; be led into error, stray”), from Proto-Germanic *dwaljaną (“to hold up, delay; hesitate”), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰwelH- (“to whirl, swirl, blur, obfuscate”), which is cognate with Old Norse dvelja and related to Proto-Germanic *dwelaną (“to go astray”), which underwent semantic change in its descendants. Cognates include Danish dvæle (“to linger, dwell”) and Swedish dväljas (“to dwell, reside”).
- Rhymes: -ɛl
dwell (plural dwells)
- (engineering) A period of time in which a system or component remains in a given state.
- (engineering) A brief pause in the motion of part of a mechanism to allow an operation to be completed.
- (electrical engineering) A planned delay in a timed control program.
- (automotive) In a petrol engine, the period of time the ignition points are closed to let current flow through the ignition coil in between each spark. This is measured as an angle in degrees around the camshaft in the distributor which controls the points, for example in a 4-cylinder engine it might be 55° (spark at 90° intervals, points closed for 55° between each).
- (intransitive, now literary) To live; to reside.
- 1622, Henry Peacham (Jr.), The Compleat Gentleman:
- I am fully resolved to go dwell in another house.
- 1871, Charles John Smith, Synonyms Discriminated: A Complete Catalogue of Synonymous Words in the English Language:
- The poor man dwells in a humble cottage near the hall where the lord of the domain resides.
- (transitive with on) To linger on a particular thought, idea, etc.; to remain fixated on something.
- Steven, stop dwelling on the past!
But you stole my kidney!
- 1902, John Buchan, The Outgoing of the Tide:
- So it came about that long ere Ailie reached home it was on young Heriotside that her mind dwelled, and it was the love of him that made her eyes glow and her cheeks redden.
- 1991 May 12, “Kidnapped!”, in Jeeves and Wooster, Series 2, Episode 5:
- Jeeves: Foreign travel often liberates emotions best kept in check, sir. The air of North America is notoriously stimulating in this regard, as witness the regrettable behavior of its inhabitants in 1776.
B. Wooster: Hm? What happened in 1776, Jeeves?
Jeeves: I prefer not to dwell on it, if it's convenient to you, sir.
- 2008, BioWare, Mass Effect (Science Fiction), Redwood City: Electronic Arts, →ISBN, →OCLC, PC, scene: Normandy SR-1:
- Corporal Jenkins: They're always getting dropped into impossible situations. Forced to survive unbeatable odds. Just like you on Akuze!
Shepard: Fifty marines died there, Jenkins.
Corporal Jenkins: Sorry, Commander. I-- I didn't mean to offend you. I respect what you did there. We all do.
Doctor Chakwas: Let's not dwell on the past, Commander. Was there something else you needed?
- 2015 May 25, Daniel Taylor, “Norwich reach Premier League after early blitz sees off Middlesbrough”, in The Guardian (London):
- Middlesbrough will wonder whether it might have been different if the volley that Jelle Vossen slashed towards John Ruddy’s net after nine minutes had been a couple inches lower rather than clanging off the crossbar. They should not dwell on that moment too long, however.
- (intransitive, engineering) To be in a given state.
- (intransitive) To abide; to remain; to continue.
- 1596, Edmund Spenser, “Book VI, Canto XII”, in The Faerie Queene. […], part II (books IV–VI), London: […] [Richard Field] for William Ponsonby, →OCLC, stanza 17, page 512:
- My liefe (ſayd ſhe) ye know, that long ygo, / Whileſt ye in durance dwelt, ye to me gaue / A little mayde, the which ye chylded tho ; / The ſame againe if now ye liſt to haue, / The ſame is yonder Lady, whom high God did ſaue.
- (live, reside): See also Thesaurus:reside
- ^ According to ODS "(eng. dwell er laan fra nord.)", "English dwell is a loanword from Old Norse"
- ^ Oxford-Paravia Concise - Dizionario Inglese-Italiano e Italiano-Inglese (in collaborazione con Oxford University Press). Edited by Maria Cristina Bareggi. Torino: Paravia, 2003. ISBN 8839551107. Online version here
- “dwell”, in The Century Dictionary […], New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911, →OCLC.
- “dwell”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.
- Alternative form of