Definition of swot in US English:



[no object]British
  • Study assiduously.

    ‘kids swotting for exams’
    • ‘I suppose I should be swotting madly to be prepared for the big meeting with the supervisor tomorrow, however.’
    • ‘This means I would no longer be returning from Paris around 1 am on Friday 21 May with at least three more days to swot up.’
    • ‘Once you have located the source of potential trouble, your next step is to go, not to the doctor, but to the bookshop to swot up your symptoms in a health manual.’
    • ‘Graduate Michael Angliss spent three years swotting for his degree - only to be told to dumb down when it came to getting a job.’
    • ‘Most players will only get one 21 game a year, possibly none if swotting for examinations.’
    • ‘If the idea of quitting office life sounds appealing, make sure you swot up first, advises Dave Houlden’
    • ‘This is your opportunity to get involved and find your best young speller so the sooner you register, the sooner your children can start swotting!’
    • ‘Serves me right for reading the Economist when I should have been swotting for my year 2 exams.’
    • ‘Then he swotted and got his limited electrician's licence.’
    • ‘All over the country, school and university students have their heads down to swot for summer exams, and anxiety levels shoot up.’
    • ‘He got on a flight, flew to Dunedin, swotted all night, sat his paper the next morning and flew to Rotorua to join the band for a concert that night.’
    • ‘Learning to drive is getting more difficult, especially today with so much paperwork and swotting to do for separate practical and theory tests.’
    • ‘I hope it restores a little bit of national pride. It was also a huge surprise. I didn't have time to swot up so I just breezed in and did the best I could.’
    • ‘Unlike exams, you can't swot up for psychometric tests, but if you think you're likely to come across them in your hunt for a job try to familiarise yourself with the process.’
    • ‘Bill comes for the meal, but he then goes to his room to swot.’
    • ‘But he is still a bright spark when it comes to maths and English because he swots up with the help of a special tutor who teaches him on the ward.’
    • ‘Just last week the wonderfully named teenager Seb Clover sailed solo across the Atlantic at a time when most of his peers are swotting for exams.’
    study, studying, education, schooling, tuition, teaching, academic work, instruction, training
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derogatory, informal
  • A person who studies hard, especially one regarded as spending too much time studying.

    • ‘The unloved school swots of the 20th century have blossomed into the alpha group of the 21st.’
    • ‘She attended the local comprehensive school, where by her own admission she was a bit of a swot.’
    • ‘That history master happened also to be a County cricketer and a notable rugger player, so his remarks were discounted by the swots in the back row as the sort of thing he would say, wouldn't he?’
    • ‘He is dressed in black, wearing glasses designed to make him look like the class swot, and has a solemn expression.’
    • ‘I have a first class honours degree in biochemistry and I won the prize for being the top swot.’
    • ‘Sue listed his academic achievements and Boris admitted he was a colossal swot - he strongly recommended boning up.’
    • ‘In the same way a hard-working employee can annoy his more laid-back colleagues by showing them up, so a swot tends to annoy his less bright, less studious classmates.’
    • ‘At the time, I would rather have had a detention; didn't really enjoy being the school swot.’
    • ‘That speech confirms what many people feel and fear about politicians: that they were the most despised classmates at school - the swot, the precocious prat, the political trainspotter.’
    • ‘And everyone looks at the floor, until the swot comes in with an answer that he hopes will impress the teachers.’
    • ‘They are the culinary equivalent of girlie swots.’
    • ‘To call them outsiders is like saying the school swot is from another planet.’
    • ‘None of us, even the swots, knew what was going on.’
    • ‘Besides, these days a cool pair of glasses is seen as a fashion plus, and I'm less likely to be called ‘four eyes’ today than when I was the speccy swot at school.’
    • ‘Brown's memory of himself at this time is not as a swot but as an all-rounder, ‘very keen on sports’.’
    • ‘Even in Shakespeare's day, school was for girlie swots rather than naughty boys.’
    • ‘You will know the answer to this so give someone else a chance you swot!’
    • ‘And for some reason, academic success meant nothing in my school - there was no praise for doing well - only jeers from other pupils, or teachers who called me a swot in front of the rest of the class.’
    • ‘Cook is the school swot whose achievements in politics have not surprised anyone who sat with him in a classroom or opposite him in any debating chamber.’
    • ‘British sports writing - in contrast to the American variety - often has the feel of the class swot trying to impress the lads with his newly discovered fascination for footie.’
    study, get up, read up, cram
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Phrasal Verbs

  • swot up on

    • Study (a subject) intensively, especially in preparation for something.

      ‘teachers spend their evenings swotting up on jargon’
      ‘I've always been interested in old furniture and I've swotted it up a bit’
      revise, read up, go over, refresh one's memory of, relearn, cram, study, learn
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Mid 19th century: dialect variant of sweat.