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See also: Swale



  • IPA(key): /sweɪl/
  • Rhymes: -eɪl
  • (file)

Etymology 1[edit]

Possibly from Middle English swale (a shady place, a shadow), perhaps of North Germanic origin; akin to Old Norse svalr (cool, fresh), Icelandic svalir (a balcony running along a wall).

English Wikipedia has an article on:


swale (plural swales)

  1. A low tract of moist or marshy land.
  2. A long narrow and shallow trough between ridges on a beach, running parallel to the coastline.
  3. A shallow troughlike depression created to carry water during rainstorms or snow melts; a drainage ditch.
  4. Bioswale, a shallow trough dug into the land on contour (horizontally with no slope), whose purpose is to allow water time to percolate into the soil.
    • 2009, Toby Hemenway, Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, 2nd Edition, Chelsea Green Publishing, →ISBN, page 101:
      The stored water creates an underground reservoir that aids plant growth for tens of feet below the swale. Swales also prevent gullies from forming by intercepting rainwater, slowing it, spreading it, and storing it in the soil.
  5. A shallow, usually grassy depression sloping downward from a plains upland meadow or level vegetated ridgetop.

Etymology 2[edit]

See sweal.


swale (plural swales)

  1. (UK, dialectal) A gutter in a candle.


swale (third-person singular simple present swales, present participle swaling, simple past and past participle swaled)

  1. Alternative form of sweal (melt and waste away, or singe)


Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of whale