Definition of swelter in English:



  • (of a person or the atmosphere at a particular time or place) be uncomfortably hot.

    ‘Barney sweltered in his doorman's uniform’
    • ‘On the downside it's 300 km from the sea, freezing in the winter, sweltering in the summer.’
    • ‘They may be sweltering and risking dehydration at one moment then combating hypothermia as the wind swings round to the east.’
    • ‘How they must look down at us sitting there, sweltering away in the morning sun, and laugh their heads off at us.’
    • ‘As Coventry swelter in the heat, Mikkel Bischoff still maintains he made the right move in switching to the Ricoh Arena.’
    • ‘Granted, here in Dublin it's a few degrees cooler than in Britain, but it's still sweltering by our standards.’
    • ‘We were rained on hard enough to look for a second ark, we drove through three snowstorms in the mountains, we froze in a harsh Kansas wind, and we sweltered in southern Texas heat.’
    • ‘Over the summer Matt, from Rodbourne, completed the Athens marathon despite sweltering temperatures.’
    • ‘I got to the top about 15 minutes before them but then I made a big mistake and took my hat off because I was sweltering.’
    • ‘As Hong Kong sweltered for the second day under smoggy skies, a health lobby group called on the government to reform its current air pollution health warnings saying they are inadequate.’
    • ‘Across the aeons, temperatures have dipped and soared, plunged and sweltered - without the assistance of mankind.’
    • ‘As Tokyo swelters in soaring temperatures, people are being invited to cool off by choosing from a variety of unusual flavours.’
    • ‘The locked-out crowd had two choices: remain uncomfortably warm in the plaza, or crowd into the box-office area and swelter unbearably.’
    • ‘One of the beach packed with visitors sweltering in Mediterranean-style sunshine.’
    • ‘Otherwise, laugh along as Harold improvises an elephant trunk, chews on leaves, swelters in a hot desert sun, deals with mischievous thieving monkeys, and more.’
    • ‘When the weather is sweltering, how we long for the cooling respite of a dip in a swimming pool.’
    • ‘Hong Kong sweltered yesterday in its hottest day so far this year with the mercury reaching a monstrous 37 degrees in the western New Territories and 34 degrees in urban areas.’
    • ‘If you thought that you were sweltering more than usual during February you were far from wrong.’
    • ‘Outside the Waldorf-Astoria, demonstrators and cops shivered in a cold, persistent drizzle; inside, delegates sweltered in the over-heating that seems to tempt every hotel manager.’
    • ‘Having to sit on stage in sweltering heat all day taking the brunt of increasingly short-tempered attendees is not going to be much fun.’
    • ‘While the north coast has sweltered under the hottest February sun for 100 years, the rains have arrived just in time to remind us it's winter sport sign-on.’
    hot, stifling, suffocating, humid, steamy, sultry, sticky, muggy, close, stuffy, airless, oppressive, tropical, torrid, burning, searing, parching, like an oven, like a turkish bath, jungle-like
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  • An uncomfortably hot atmosphere.

    ‘the swelter of an August day’
    • ‘There is a level of desperation provided in the performances, and the monochrome image sells the desert swelter very well.’
    • ‘Now most of the crew will fight for their ship in a swelter of smoke and foul air.’
    • ‘School children are sweating it out with soaring summer temperatures and record levels of humidity leaving the region in a swelter.’
    • ‘A slim, wooden door separates the tiny coffee storefront from a handful of employees working in the swelter of the warehouse-style area, heated both by the summer weather and the industrial-size coffee roaster.’
    • ‘The fire was so violent and hot that he could feel it's swelter from three blocks away.’
    hot weather, hotness, warm weather, warmth, warmness, sultriness, closeness, mugginess, humidity
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Middle English: from the base of dialect swelt ‘perish’, of Germanic origin.