Main definitions of swallow in English

: swallow1swallow2

swallow1

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Cause or allow (something, especially food or drink) to pass down the throat:

    ‘she swallowed a mouthful slowly’
    • ‘You may have trouble swallowing food or liquids.’
    • ‘He took a huge gulp of milk to swallow the food down faster.’
    • ‘Normally I like to have a beer or more but the sensation in the back of my throat when I swallowed beer this time was really strange.’
    • ‘I swallowed my peanut butter slowly, letting it slide down my throat as I regarded the collection of books that sat before me.’
    • ‘Most people today swallow their food after giving it one or two chews, and it enters the intestines very hard.’
    • ‘Patients with neuromuscular dysphagia experience gradually progressive difficulty in swallowing solid food and liquids.’
    • ‘‘I used to say the same things whenever I had this argument with him,’ he replied, swallowing a mouthful of food.’
    • ‘She swallowed her mouthful of food and grinned sheepishly.’
    • ‘When he felt the man's hand lifting his head, he swallowed whatever food or drink he was given.’
    • ‘She's having a great deal of trouble swallowing her food.’
    • ‘Because you have bitter taste receptors at the back of your mouth and the top of your throat, you should swallow the beer.’
    • ‘Then you start to tuck into your breakfast but have to give in after two or three mouthfuls because the pain of chewing and then swallowing the food becomes unbearable.’
    • ‘Your baby won't know how to swallow food at this stage, but with luck some of the food will slide down your baby's throat.’
    • ‘It happens when a horse swallows his food too quickly and it forms a plug in the esophagus.’
    • ‘He has to be fed through a tube because even swallowing food makes his mouth and throat come up in painful sores and blisters.’
    • ‘As the disease progresses, the person may even forget how to swallow food and walk, and need assistance in all daily activities.’
    • ‘His cancer was diagnosed in 1997 and since then a sequence of operations has robbed him not only of his voice but the ability to swallow food.’
    • ‘During that time she underwent major surgery to join her esophagus, the tube used to swallow food, to her stomach.’
    • ‘On Saturday, December 4, she discovered she could not swallow food or drink, and the next day her husband took her to casualty at Pontefract.’
    • ‘The child then really has no option but to swallow the food.’
    eat, gulp down, consume, devour, eat up, put away, wolf down, stuff down, gorge oneself on, feast on, polish off
    drink, gulp down, guzzle, quaff, imbibe, sup, slurp, suck, sip
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[no object] Perform the muscular movement of the oesophagus required to do this, especially through fear or nervousness:
      ‘she swallowed hard, sniffing back her tears’
      • ‘I swallowed hard, recalling that the man I was verbally jousting with has enjoyed his own significant share of that patronage down the years.’
      • ‘So I swallow hard and silently root for a split decision.’
      • ‘Cranial nerve involvement may affect airway maintenance, facial muscles, eye movements, and swallowing.’
      • ‘Being about thirty feet from the ground, Raiana slowly looked down, and swallowed hard, her fear of heights kicking in.’
      • ‘She arrived and rang the doorbell, swallowing down her nervousness.’
      • ‘Michelle swallowed hard at Grace's abrupt departure and glanced around nervously.’
      • ‘One of the most common symptoms of cancer of the oesophagus is difficulty swallowing (dysphagia).’
      • ‘I can assure him that many who thought there party had ‘green credentials’ will be swallowing hard when they look at the ballot paper.’
      • ‘‘It was hard to swallow when people gave me stick for not scoring goals,’ he says.’
      • ‘Micah swallowed hard to control the fear inside of her.’
      • ‘New Yorkers are tough but even they swallowed hard when they found that they now had two first ladies.’
      • ‘Her husband had recently noted swallowing and chewing movements during the episodes, which occurred in clusters up to 15 times a week.’
      • ‘Leon swallowed hard, feeling a little nervous as he stood there watching her.’
      • ‘And if you find this whole trend hard to swallow, well, watch out.’
      • ‘This statement has the virtue of being true, even if it is a truth that will be hard to swallow for Labour's election campaign managers.’
      • ‘I wiped away a bead of nervous sweat from my forehead, licked my lips and swallowed hard.’
      • ‘‘We played fairly well and were close to playing really well and that's hard to swallow,’ Duval said.’
      • ‘For the artist, the reality was that of violence - hard to swallow, yet plentiful like water.’
      • ‘Saran swallowed, fear and nervousness suddenly finding their way back.’
      • ‘If you can't handle reading something about yourself that you find hard to swallow, well then, don't read.’
    2. 1.2 Put up with or meekly accept (something unwelcome):
      ‘he seemed ready to swallow any insult’
      • ‘After it's been decided, the tossers will have to swallow their insults.’
      • ‘Apparently, these broadcasters believe that listeners are incapable of handling subversive music, but are ready to swallow euphemisms.’
      • ‘Skye opened her mouth to retaliate, but, seeing April's look, swallowed the insult.’
      • ‘Because if we accept her seriously, we have to swallow the load of bull that comes along with playing meaty female roles in Hindi films.’
      • ‘The final insult to those voters who decided to swallow their cynicism and take the trouble to return their slips, was to choose an option other than the one wanted by the majority.’
      • ‘Distributors may have to swallow the costs of increased premiums and accept a reduction in their scope for progressing their business.’
      • ‘‘Get on with it,’ Blancard pushed, swallowing the insult he had been about ready to spout off at her.’
      • ‘Grace scolded, watching as both Rupert and Donal swallowed their protests and clamped their mouths shut.’
      • ‘Just how bad do things have to get before one is forced to swallow such an insulting offer?’
      • ‘Delegates swallowed their left-wing principles to accept a watery platform and avoid an internal struggle.’
      • ‘Skow nodded, swallowed her questions, and led on quickly, painfully aware of the silent shadow that trailed her.’
      • ‘Do they assume that women who practise faith are a docile lot, meekly swallowing the built-in injustices in their respective religions?’
      • ‘She knew what he meant, and swallowed her protests.’
      • ‘The look he gave Dancer was slightly less tolerant, but he swallowed any retort he might have made.’
      • ‘Her face was swallowed by the acceptance of her death; the tears had stopped running and she even smiled weakly at times.’
      tolerate, endure, stand, put up with, bear, suffer, abide, submit to, countenance, stomach, brook, take, accept
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 Believe unquestioningly (a lie or unlikely assertion):
      ‘she had swallowed his story hook, line, and sinker’
      • ‘The crook-Conservatives lie to the idiot-conservatives who swallow the lies hook, line and sinker.’
      • ‘The Minister seemed to swallow his declaration.’
      • ‘She swallowed his lies about me having come on to him instead of the other way round, and dumped me instead.’
      • ‘They've realised that Jonathan Swift was close to the truth when he said that ‘all politicians ultimately die of swallowing their own lies’.’
      • ‘Though players at other positions can hide from the media, the quarterback must face all the questions and swallow the criticism.’
      • ‘Often, they swallow the facile lie that victims of terror are somehow culpable.’
      • ‘More people would swallow the statement were it not for the fact that, privately, Flynn is telling a different story.’
      • ‘But because the radicals are sexually correct feminists, their incredible statements are swallowed whole.’
      • ‘Marie also senses a change, but she loves Niels so much that she is willing to swallow his lies.’
      • ‘Big media, with a few honorable exceptions, are respectfully swallowing the big lies.’
      • ‘But most children swallow this dodgy concept hook, line and sinker.’
      • ‘Despite evidence to the contrary, many people have swallowed this lie.’
      • ‘Of course, most who read this tripe have zero knowledge of firearms and swallow it hook, line, and sinker which is the goal.’
      • ‘Obviously swallowing another protest, he turns and walks out.’
      • ‘Like other members of your cult, you have swallowed the neo-Darwinian thesis hook line and sinker.’
      • ‘I looked at all the joking, laughing, smiling people and wanted to vomit, how could they swallow my lies without a second thought?’
      • ‘The politician who made the remark that nations swallow big lies sooner than little ones, by the way, was Adolf Hitler.’
      • ‘Despite the witch-hunt many people did not swallow the lies.’
      • ‘Have they swallowed lies, had the facts withheld, or merely found their everyday lives too preoccupying to allow them much time for careful examination of these things?’
      • ‘It's good to see as well that the world's press has swallowed this name change hook, line and sinker.’
      believe, credit, accept, trust, put confidence in, give credit to, have faith in
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4 Resist expressing (a feeling) or uttering (words):
      ‘he swallowed his pride’
      • ‘She strode forward, but then stopped, checked and swallowed her anger.’
      • ‘So we both swallowed our rage and looked over the menu again.’
      • ‘Though her first instinct is to run and hide, Beth swallows her fear and opens the door.’
      • ‘In most cases, once such an affair has been exposed, the couple swallow their embarrassment and go their separate ways, especially if their relationship has ended.’
      • ‘Maybe my life would change for the better if I bit my tongue, swallowed my pride and didn't rise to any form of bait.’
      • ‘Depressed, we bit our tongue, swallowed our pride and voted Libertarian.’
      • ‘Charlotte swallowed a guilty feeling and looked at Allegra in the eyes.’
      • ‘He's one of those men who swallow their feelings for the sake of a quiet life and it makes them fat.’
      • ‘You just have to ask, which means swallowing your fear, suppressing your ego.’
      • ‘On his dismissal, the South African rugby union should have swallowed their pride and re-appointed Mallet.’
      • ‘A huge cavern had opened inside of him, swallowing his grief, horror, guilt, and sadness.’
      • ‘I leant back against my locker with my eyes closed trying to swallow the feeling of nausea.’
      • ‘Murphy, who has an ailing wife and is serving out his time till his pension, keeps swallowing his rage and pride.’
      • ‘He bravely helps his master and swallows his utter hatred of Smeagol long enough for them to use the creature as a guide.’
      • ‘Desperate to make her feel better, Jon swallowed his own feelings of confusion and tried to reassure her.’
      • ‘Faced with such an event, most of us just swallow our feelings, or go out and get drunk or whatever.’
      • ‘Faith's heart sank with those words, and she cursed herself inwardly for swallowing her pride and coming to him.’
      • ‘Smiling as he saw a customer push through the doors, he fought to swallow his irritation.’
      • ‘Ann wanted to cry with anger; she bit into her knuckles and swallowed her fury, trying not call for more of the Sirians' attention.’
      • ‘He swallowed his pride and went to see Bossuet, the Court chaplain.’
      restrain, repress, hold back, choke back, keep back, hold in, bite back, suppress, fight back
      View synonyms
  • 2Take in and cause to disappear; engulf:

    ‘the dark mist swallowed her up’
    • ‘An explosion of smoke engulfed him, swallowing his body in a flume of colors.’
    • ‘Even if an earthquake had escaped the notice of the guards, the fact still remains that if the body was swallowed up, then the grave clothes would be as well.’
    • ‘There's a cave-in, and whole houses, entire families, are swallowed up and consumed by fire.’
    • ‘The child, like so many thousands of others in a tragedy unfolding across 10 countries, disappeared, swallowed by a sea that had not been so cruel for more than a century.’
    • ‘The night swallowed him as he disappeared into the trees.’
    • ‘People are concerned that El Nino might engulf their homes with storm water - but they often swallow the deluge provided by El Bunko.’
    • ‘He led her out onto the dance floor, and instant, they were enveloped by the pack, swallowed by the crowd.’
    • ‘If I didn't see Peggy's red hat near my feet, I would have thought she'd been swallowed by the snow.’
    • ‘Here the great void over the altar swamps and swallows the tiny little Christ.’
    engulf, swamp, devour, flood over, overwhelm, overcome, bury, drown, inundate
    take over, engulf, absorb, assimilate, incorporate, overrun, overwhelm, swamp
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Completely use up (money or resources):
      ‘debts swallowed up most of the money he had got for the house’
      • ‘But you should bear in mind that money can be swallowed up, and that staff rewards organised in this way could prove more memorable and effective.’
      • ‘As the majority of my salary was swallowed up by my obsession, I ended up borrowing a lot of money to make ends meet.’
      • ‘He went on to explain the extra money would be swallowed up by pay rises, inflation, pension costs and the increase in national insurance due in April.’
      • ‘The pensioners discovered it had been swallowed up by the ground - along with part of their back garden.’
      • ‘A lot of the money will be swallowed up by the military, or will have been diverted from existing loans.’
      • ‘Supporters have been assured that none of the money will be swallowed up by the club's current plight which has seen it go into administration.’
      • ‘The government should not be asked to swallow these prices but should use the entire group of elderly as a cohort to force lower, more reasonable prices.’
      • ‘They swallow the deposit, randomly taking the client around looking at some apartments which may have been leased to other people.’
      • ‘None will ever return to the North Sea and what money they do get will most likely be swallowed up by creditors.’
      • ‘Big business swallowed the windfall tax on utility profits to fund the New Deal and Brown's dawn raid on pension fund dividend income.’
      • ‘He said that most of the extra money would go towards creating new work, rather than being swallowed up by deficits.’
      • ‘My little bit of pension increase has already been swallowed up and I cannot vote myself a new rise in pension as some people can.’
      • ‘Tshwete should also explain in detail ‘how many resources were swallowed up by what was always a wild-goose chase’.’
      • ‘More often than not, they wouldn't accept coins - or worse still they swallowed up the money but failed to deliver the discs.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, most of the money is swallowed up in bureaucracy and the production of meaningless consultancy reports which benefit nobody.’
      • ‘Verdun for example was the bloodiest battle in military history, a black hole where the armies of two nations were swallowed up.’
      • ‘The Met were rightfully hammered and shaken up into a better police force although sadly most of the compensation was swallowed up by feverish vain legal teams.’
      • ‘Tough financial decisions are to be taken next week to prevent the Lake District National Park Authority from being swallowed up in a financial black hole.’
      • ‘Some of the money was paid into Perry's private account, which they were both using and was swallowed up among their own money, said Mr Clarke.’
      • ‘Prebble's decision to resign as leader may well be the only thing that saves it from being swallowed up by a resurgent National party.’

noun

  • 1An act of swallowing something, especially food or drink:

    ‘he downed his drink in one swallow’
    • ‘He hadn't meant to, it was more of a gulp than a swallow, but he'd still done it just the same.’
    • ‘Maria quickly grabbed a glass of champagne from the tray of one of the servers, and drank half of it two large swallows before she had the courage to ask Erik what had just happened.’
    • ‘After downing it in a single swallow, Jonnie exhales and looks past Hannah down the hall.’
    • ‘Alex sighed, then downed his drink in one swallow and returned for another one.’
    • ‘As he lowered the canteen from his mouth, I took it back and drank a few swallows myself.’
    • ‘When he declined, she opened her drink and took a swallow.’
    • ‘All semblance of evil were slowly drained away as he drank swallow after swallow of this liquid fire.’
    • ‘A single-contrast barium swallow did not show a connection between the mass and the esophagus.’
    • ‘In another, the sufferer drinks several swallows of water while an accomplice presses on both ear flaps (technically called the tragus).’
    • ‘Elea felt the flood of tears renewed as she took two more shaky swallows of her drink.’
    • ‘August finished his drink in one swallow, then slammed the empty glass down on the desk decisively.’
    • ‘He handed me his glass and I drank down his last swallow.’
    • ‘I lifted his head and held the broth to his lips, and he again drank a few swallows of it.’
    • ‘To evaluate further, do esophagography with barium swallow to look for TE fistula.’
    • ‘Their glasses clinked lightly, and then they both drank several swallows.’
    • ‘The gulped their wine cups down with a single swallow.’
    • ‘Mo took another, overly large, swallow of her drink and stared out across the dance floor.’
    • ‘I murmured something back, still smiling about nothing, then took a large swallow from my drink, keeping my face in the glass.’
    • ‘Jackie Gleason drank up life in huge, full-throated swallows - straight-up, no mixer, and the tab was on him.’
    • ‘She took the glass and drank the milk in large swallows.’
    1. 1.1 An amount of something swallowed in one action:
      ‘a swallow of beer’
      • ‘The girl took a few bites and a swallow of the spring water, just enough to keep her going until the last battle was over.’
      • ‘He took a swallow of his steaming coffee and cleared his throat.’
      • ‘In normal persons, swallowing is initiated promptly, and no significant amount of material is retained after a swallow.’
      • ‘Margaret put the glass up to her lips and took a swallow of the pungent liquid.’
      • ‘A swallow of the inn's fiery brew aided him to clear his throat.’
      • ‘He took a deep breath and a swallow of water from his mug.’
      • ‘The solicitor took a swallow of white wine, then frowned thoughtfully.’
      • ‘He took a swallow of orange juice and set the glass on the table.’
      • ‘The general downed a swallow of brandy and watched as Numair stared at his own drink, as if mentally fighting it for control.’
      • ‘Keyan was in the middle of a swallow of vodka on the rocks, which he drank like water, when his glass stopped abruptly in mid-swallow.’
      • ‘As she popped the tablets into her mouth and took a swallow of water, she silently stared out the window.’
      • ‘A swallow of the whiskey caused a flush to rise again to Alex's face as he added the names of the survivors to the recording.’
      • ‘She clutched her forehead and sucked in a swallow of air as she steadied herself.’
      • ‘He took a swallow of whiskey and met the ensign's eyes defiantly, almost daring him to say another word.’
      • ‘He took a swallow of Tab and rose, taking his bowl to the sink.’
      • ‘Nodding again, Bishop takes a swallow of cold San Pellegrino before continuing.’
      • ‘I take a swallow of my margarita and get ready to ask her one more time if I can see it.’
      • ‘Kieran washed the jam pasty down with a swallow of wine and turned sideways on the bench to make his own inventory.’
      • ‘Thilda shrugged her shoulders and took a swallow of her mead.’
      • ‘She smiled devilishly taking a swallow of the liquor.’

Origin

Old English swelgan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zwelgen and German schwelgen.

Pronunciation

swallow

/ˈswɒləʊ/

Main definitions of swallow in English

: swallow1swallow2

swallow2

noun

  • A migratory swift-flying songbird with a forked tail and long pointed wings, feeding on insects in flight.

    Compare with woodswallow
    • ‘Montezuma offers a much greater diversity of birds, including various swallows, sparrows, and songbirds not mentioned here.’
    • ‘I have now chased out one pigeon, captured one small brown bird, and outsmarted one barn swallow.’
    • ‘The best evidence so far for parasite-mediated sexual selection has been found in the barn swallow, Hirundo rustica.’
    • ‘The barn swallow is a approximately 18-g, migratory, semicolonial passerine that breeds commonly throughout most parts of the Palearctic and Nearctic temperate regions.’
    • ‘The central aim of our study was to demonstrate that both natural and sexual selection have been important in shaping the tail streamer of the barn swallow.’
    • ‘Gulls, hawks and vultures soar, swallows and terns skim the surface of water.’
    • ‘The barn swallow is a socially monogamous, semicolonial, insectivorous passerine.’
    • ‘Most studies trying to identify the function of external tail feathers in the barn swallow have focused on males; much less attention has been paid to females.’
    • ‘The barn swallow is an approximately 20-g passerine, migratory bird that feeds on flying insects captured on the wing.’
    • ‘Judson cautions that the term ‘promiscuous’ doesn't adequately describe the barn swallow's sexual behavior.’
    • ‘The marshes are excellent areas to see red-winged blackbirds, swallows, Virginia rails, and yellow-headed blackbirds.’
    • ‘Sparrows, swallows, and songbirds tell the story of a place.’
    • ‘He published a scientific article on his barn swallow theory in Bird Watcher's Digest.’
    • ‘Before fall migration, swallows gorge themselves on insects and bayberries.’
    • ‘No relationship was found between offspring sex ratio and male mating success in corn buntings Miliaria calandra or barn swallows.’
    • ‘We also saw collared doves, wood pigeons, barn swallows and a red-wattled plover.’
    • ‘The cornflower and the barn swallow are common national symbols, and stone and wood have an organic meaning for peasants struggling against nature.’
    • ‘The barn swallow has figured largely in studies of sexual selection and exaggerated traits.’
    • ‘All the common species are here - blackbirds and thrushes and the like - plus goldfinches, swallows, kingfishers and grebes on the pond.’
    • ‘The barn swallow is a semicolonial, aerially insectivorous passerine.’

Phrases

  • one swallow does not make a summer

    • proverb A single fortunate event doesn't mean that what follows will also be good.

      • ‘The performance against Chinese Taipei could be lauded but one swallow does not make a summer.’
      • ‘A lot of my horses have been wrong, but hopefully we are on the way back - though one swallow does not make a summer.’
      • ‘Of course, as every erudite solid citizen knows from Aesop's Fables, one swallow does not make a summer.’
      • ‘But one swallow does not make a summer, and it might be a tad premature to call an end to this bear market.’
      • ‘But like one swallow does not make a summer, a few wheelchair ramps and larger elevators in a 5-star hotel do not make a city friendly to those who are physically handicapped.’
      • ‘But just as one swallow does not make a summer, an isolated effort without proper back up did precious little for the growth of women's football.’
      • ‘When Sligo Rovers defeated Galway I thought to myself that one swallow does not make a summer and the game against Dundalk would be the acid test.’
      • ‘Bearing in mind the old saying that one swallow does not make a summer, the statistic nevertheless does point to the danger of a deflationary downturn in the US economy.’
      • ‘One swallow does not make a summer, even if this series made ours.’
      • ‘Just as one swallow does not make a summer, one summer does not immanentize the gay eschaton.’

Origin

Old English swealwe, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zwaluw and German Schwalbe.

Pronunciation

swallow

/ˈswɒləʊ/