- noun the movement of large waves in the open sea
- verb to become larger, usually because of an illness or injury
- verb to grow fat
- noun a long wave on water that moves continuously without breaking
- noun a can that is bulging at one or both ends because of gases produced by spoilage of the food inside
- verb to become larger, or cause something to become larger
- noun a particularly thick part of sewn sections, caused by the thread
- noun a well-off single woman, in yuppie argot of the late 1980s. An acronym (‘single woman earning lots of lolly’) also recalling the dated description of a fashionable ‘person-about-town’.
Origin & History of “swell”
Swell comes from prehistoric Germanic *swellan, a verb of unknown origin which also produced German schwellen, Dutch zwellen, and Swedish svälla. Its use as an adjective, meaning ‘fine’, emerged at the beginning of the 19th century. The notion underlying it is ‘suitable to a swell, a fashionable or stylish person’; and this application of the noun swell probably arose out of an earlier use for ‘swollen’ or pompous behaviour.