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Alternative forms[edit]


over- +‎ swell



overswell (third-person singular simple present overswells, present participle overswelling, simple past and past participle overswelled)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To swell or rise above (something, especially the rim of a container, the sides of something hollow, etc.).
    Synonyms: overflow, spill over
    In some years the river overswells its banks, causing widespread flooding.
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, “The Life of Henry the Fift”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act II, scene i]:
      Let floods o’erswell, and fiends for food howl on!
    • 1599 (first performance), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Iulius Cæsar”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act V, scene i]:
      Fill, Lucius, till the wine o’erswell the cup;
    • 1636, Thomas Heywood, Loves Maistresse, London: John Crowch, Act I, Scene 1,[1]
      Come, you have made mee resolute and bould,
      And now receive your lapps ore-swell’d with gold.
    • 1768, Ignatius Sancho, letter to Mr. M—, in Letters of the Late Ignatius Sancho, London: J. Nichols, 3rd edition, 1784, p. 13,[2]
      [] the heart gratefully throbbing—overswelled with thankful sensations—
    • 1835, John Clare, “Decay”, in The Rural Muse[3], London: Whittaker, page 60:
      When mushrooms they were fairy bowers,
      Their marble pillars over-swelling,
    • 1942, G. L. Steer, chapter 2, in Sealed and Delivered,[4], London: Hodder and Stoughton, page 14:
      [] then Badoglio and his staff [went by] looking rather big for their cars, like the necks of bookmakers overswelling their collars;
  2. (transitive, intransitive) To cause (something) to be too swollen or large; to become too swollen or large.
    • 1729, Jonathan Swift, “Maxims Controlled in Ireland”, in The Works of Dr. Jonathan Swift[5], volume 15, London: W. Johnston, published 1765, page 243:
      [] the rents of lands still grew higher upon every lease that expired, till they have arrived at the present exorbitance; when the frog, overswelling himself, burst at last.
    • 1885, Richard Burton, The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, The Burton Club, Volume 1, Translator’s Foreward, p. xvi,[6]
      My annotations avoid only one subject, parallels of European folk-lore and fabliaux which, however interesting, would overswell the bulk of a book whose speciality is anthropology.
    • 1923, Proceedings of the World’s Dairy Congress, Volume 1, Session 7, p. 289,[7]
      A frequent difficulty in the manufacture of Emmental cheese in America, and perhaps elsewhere, is a tendency for the cheese to overswell.
    • 1998, Pamela Norris, chapter 10, in Eve: A Biography[8], New York: New York University Press, page 322:
      [The monster’s] ungrateful progeny rush to gorge on her blood, but it overswells their bellies and they literally burst to death.

See also[edit]


overswell (plural overswells)

  1. An excessive or sudden increase or flood (of something).
    Synonym: surge
    • 1978, Constance Backhouse; Leah Cohen, chapter 3, in The Secret Oppression: Sexual Harassment of Working Women[9], Toronto: Macmillan of Canada, page 54:
      [The trial] drew a crowd [] that almost stormed the City Hall corridors. Three policement were needed to keep back the overswell.
    • 1983, Kenneth A. McClane, “From a Silent Center” in A Tree Beyond Telling, San Francisco: Black Scholar Press, p. 31,[10]
      when no Jihad / opens the conceived / to distention, the reedy creek / to overswells / of mudwallow:
    • 1997, David Njoku, Eve[11], Lagos: True Tales Publication, page 53:
      I could feel that my overswell of emotions had communicated itself to him.