From Middle English swimmen, from Old English swimman (“to swim, float”) (class III strong verb; past tense swamm, past participle geswummen), from Proto-Germanic *swimmaną (“to swoon, lose consciousness, swim”), from Proto-Indo-European *swem(bʰ)- (“to be unsteady, move, swim”). Cognate with Scots sweem, soom (“to swim”), Saterland Frisian swimme (“to swim”), West Frisian swimme (“to swim, float”), Dutch zwemmen (“to swim”), German schwimmen (“to swim”), Danish svømme (“to swim”), Swedish simma (“to swim”).
- (intransitive, archaic) To float.
- sink or swim
- 2 Kings VI:6 (KJV)
- And he cut down a stick, and cast it in thither; and the iron did swim.
- Wm. Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
- Why, now, blow wind, swell billow, and swim bark! The storm is up and all is on the hazard.
- (intransitive) To move through the water, without touching the bottom; to propel oneself in water by natural means.
- (transitive) To traverse (a specific body of water, or a specific distance) by swimming; or, to utilize a specific swimming stroke; or, to compete in a specific swimming event.
- For exercise, we like to swim laps around the pool.
- I want to swim the 200-yard breaststroke in the finals.
- Sometimes he thought to swim the stormy main.
- (transitive, uncommon) To cause to swim.
- to swim a horse across a river
- Half of the guinea pigs were swum daily.
- (intransitive) To be overflowed or drenched.
- Psalm VI:6 (KJV)
- I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.
- Sudden the ditches swell, the meadows swim.
- Psalm VI:6 (KJV)
- (transitive) To immerse in water to make the lighter parts float.
- to swim wheat in order to select seed
- (transitive, historical) To test (a suspected witch) by throwing into a river; those who floated rather than sinking were deemed to be witches.
- (transitive) To undergo a giddy sensation.
- My head was swimming after drinking two bottles of cheap wine.
swim (plural swims)
- An act or instance of swimming.
- I'm going for a swim.
- The sound, or air bladder, of a fish.
- (Britain) A part of a stream much frequented by fish.