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See also: Swale



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Particularly: "UK and Canadian English"

Etymology 1[edit]

Possibly, from Middle English, "shade", perhaps of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse svalr


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 that's created to carry water during rainstorms or snow melts; a drainage ditch.
  4. A shallow, usually grassy depression sloping downward from a plains upland meadow or level vegetated ridgetop.
    • 1912, Zane Grey, Riders of the Purple Sage, Chapter 6
      Jane climbed a few more paces behind him and then peeped over the ridge. Just beyond began a shallow swale that deepened and widened into a valley, and then swung to the left.
  5. A shallow trough dug into the land on contour (horizontally with no slope). Its purpose being to allow water time to percolate into the soil.

Etymology 2[edit]

See sweal.


swale (plural swales)

  1. (Britain, dialect) 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)