Definition of swale in English:



North American
  • A low or hollow place, especially a marshy depression between ridges.

    • ‘The orchids occurred in wet marshy swales and in open margins of wet shrubby thickets and ponds.’
    • ‘Permeable surfaced parking areas and engineered swales will force runoff through plant-based filtration to remove contaminants.’
    • ‘If you choose this as your option, then swales, culverts, and drain fields may need to be figured into your plans.’
    • ‘In New York, it grows around coastal brackish ponds and interdunal swales on Long Island and around inland salt ponds in the Finger Lakes region.’
    • ‘In the New World, it generally occurs in wet habitats that have been recently disturbed, such as rice or other agricultural fields, river flood plains, drainage ditches, roadside ditches and swales, and wetland mitigation ponds.’
    • ‘Open halophyte grassland typically occurs in swales and is characterized by H. mutica and Sporobolus airoides; other grasses, such as B. gracilis and Pnnicum obtusum, are also present.’
    • ‘First, arrange your soil to form berms and swales to better retain water.’
    • ‘Stormwater harvesting methods including swales (earth contour banks), underground Atlantis soakage tanks and mulch supplied by Indigenous Landscapes.’
    • ‘Instead of installing an expensive storm water system of pipes and treatment plants, rainwater will be channeled into plant-filed swales that will slowly clean the runoff before depositing it into the Rouge River.’
    • ‘We hypothesized that the abundance of adult trees would be lower in the grass-dominated swales.’
    • ‘The common areas contain an innovative natural drainage system, a network of creek beds, swales, and pond areas that allow rainwater to be absorbed into the ground rather than carried away through storm drains.’
    • ‘Eagle Ridge is a muscular course, with bulging mounds and sinewy swales framing the targets at every turn.’
    • ‘The two sites were selected to most closely match known pondberry habitat, i.e. in low swales that seasonally hold water, under a closed canopy forest.’
    • ‘At the locality in question, cast-dipping beds of the Middle Permian Park City and Phosphoria Formations form a succession of low ridges and intervening swales.’
    • ‘Throw in the cavernous swales and contouring on and around the large greens and you appreciate that this is a truly challenging test.’
    • ‘The undisturbed forest was criss-crossed by natural swales that drained runoff to a wetland in the valley north of the site.’
    • ‘The average altitude of birds flying within 2 km east and west of the project area was 209 m in autumn and 388 m in spring with more birds passing over valleys and swales than high points.’
    • ‘Landscaping involved land leveling by lowering ridges and filling swales and was undertaken in connection with the construction of plazas and other special-use areas within most Mississippian centers.’
    • ‘The habitat for Melanthium is wet-mesic prairie located in swales or along streams.’
    • ‘The highway dips and weaves as it follows the contours of the terrace; the motorcyclist disappears in the swales only to reappear again as he crests a rise.’


Early 16th century: of unknown origin; probably taken to America from eastern England, where it is still in use.