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From Middle English swilen (to wash; swirl; wash away), from Old English swillan, swilian (to wash; wash down; swill; gargle). Related to English swallow.



swill (plural swills)

  1. (collective) A mixture of solid and liquid food scraps fed to pigs etc; especially kitchen waste for this purpose.
    Synonyms: hogwash, slops
  2. (by extension) Any disgusting or distasteful liquid.
    I cannot believe anyone could drink this swill.
  3. (by extension, figuratively) Anything disgusting or worthless.
    This new TV show is a worthless load of swill.
    • 2017 March 27, “The Observer view on triggering article 50”, in The Observer[1]:
      They have helped foster a corrosive, mean-spirited, angry and divisive atmosphere that May and her lieutenants are too weak to challenge. Into this swill comes Leave financier-in-chief, Arron Banks, who last week announced he was setting up a “Patriotic Alliance” to attempt to unseat 100 Remain-supporting MPs.
  4. (informal) A large quantity of liquid drunk at one swallow.
    Synonyms: swig
    He took a swill of his drink and tried to think of words.
  5. (informal) Inexpensive beer or alcohol.
  6. (Ultimate Frisbee) A badly-thrown pass.



swill (third-person singular simple present swills, present participle swilling, simple past and past participle swilled)

  1. To eat or drink greedily or to excess.
    • Smollett
      Well-dressed people, of both sexes, [] devouring sliced beef, and swilling pork, and punch, and cider.
    • 1913, D.H. Lawrence, Sons and Lovers, chapter 8
      If you can give me no more than twenty-five shillings, I'm sure I'm not going to buy you pork-pie to stuff, after you've swilled a bellyful of beer.
  2. To wash something by flooding with water.
    • Shakespeare
      As fearfully as doth a galled rock / O'erhang and jutty his confounded base, / Swilled with the wild and wasteful ocean.
  3. To inebriate; to fill with drink.
    • Milton
      I should be loth / To meet the rudeness and swilled insolence / Of such late wassailers.
  4. To feed pigs swill.
    • 1921, Nephi Anderson, Dorian Chapter 8
      "Carlia, have you swilled the pigs?"