Definition of wallow in English:



  • 1(chiefly of large mammals) roll about or lie in mud or water, especially to keep cool or avoid biting insects.

    ‘there were watering places where buffalo liked to wallow’
    • ‘When the giant waves struck the coast of Kenya, Owen was wallowing with his herd in the ocean near the mouth of the Sabaki River.’
    • ‘There was the engine, sparkling clean and just waiting to purr like a kitten, but the rest of the boat looked like a greased pig had wallowed up and down the route to the engine compartment many times.’
    • ‘Now all that's left are guns and herds of overweight buffalo wallowing across a subcontinent of syrup.’
    • ‘Cape buffalo prefer areas of open pasture, close to jungle and swampy ground where they can wallow.’
    • ‘The next morning I awoke to the bellows, grunts and snorts of a dozen huge elephant seals wallowing on the black beach below the sleeping dongas (cargo containers).’
    • ‘Those who relish the contradiction of something so bad it's good, will wallow like pigs in clover.’
    • ‘A lot of people want to wallow like hippos at a waterhole when they go on holiday, and there's nothing wrong with that.’
    loll about, loll around, lie about, lie around, tumble about, tumble around, splash about, splash around
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    1. 1.1(of a boat or aircraft) roll from side to side.
      ‘a ship wallowing in stormy seas’
      • ‘After nearly an hour we spot the yacht heaved-to, wallowing on the swell.’
      • ‘Video showed the aircraft wallowing through the air at a very low speed - it must be remembered that the landing gear was down.’
      • ‘However, don't think Queen Mary 2 is another clone for the lumbering, simpering, overblown jolly boats wallowing and waddling around the world's sunshine destinations.’
      • ‘The ship wallowed through waves up to 30 feet high in the treacherous Drake's Passage.’
      • ‘Not being a sailing vessel, our motor boat rolled and wallowed slowly with every wave.’
      • ‘Tangled and corroded metal, red with age rather than by design protruded from the rock walls, and slick metal wallowed forlornly in the water, having finally succumbed to gravity's relentless pull.’
      • ‘Celestial navigation used a sextant built right into the cockpit but if the plane was wallowing at all, it was useless.’
      • ‘The yacht My Dolphin was dismasted and wallowing upon the waves.’
      • ‘To see the stricken submarine Chicoutimi wallowing from side to side in the punishing waters of the cold Atlantic last week made for some exciting television.’
      • ‘It showed several people diving off a heavily-laden small boat that was wallowing dangerously in a heavy swell.’
      roll, lurch, plunge, reel, sway, rock, flounder, keel, list
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  • 2(of a person) indulge in an unrestrained way in (something that one finds pleasurable)

    ‘I was wallowing in the luxury of the hotel’
    ‘he had been wallowing in self-pity’
    • ‘We are hedonists, living life for the sole purpose of wallowing in its myriad pleasures.’
    • ‘Tonight the entertainment industry once again wallows in its own importance for the 72nd Annual Academy awards.’
    • ‘When Ona B. bathes us in red in her installations and exuberantly wallows in bright colour, she self-ironically employs the tricks of the trade of the art market to make herself the object of inspection.’
    • ‘You land up wallowing in self piety and gloat over the fact that you have been used and hurt.’
    • ‘It is a poorer person still, however, who wallows in ignorance.’
    • ‘She wallows in television, bonding with characters as if they're her friends, while ignoring the sensible advice from her real friends.’
    • ‘The human female wallows in emotion; the male simply endures it.’
    • ‘It torments me as I stroll the course, wallowing in spectacular failure.’
    • ‘I know he wallows in indulgent individualistic angst.’
    • ‘If the TV moguls are right and we only want to watch miserable people wallowing in self-pity, then why not simply watch the news?’
    • ‘Which means I've got a little less than half and hour left to enjoy wallowing in it.’
    • ‘One professes to being nearly there, the other wallows in almost morose reflection that there is considerable effort required yet to haul him from his present fankle.’
    • ‘He was involved in his collection, sorting it, cataloguing it, wallowing in it, trying to store, organise and look after it.’
    • ‘This, he reckons, is a bitter pill for Scots who quite enjoy wallowing in a perceived anti-Scottish backlash.’
    • ‘A tragedy will still pack the seats of a theatre with those who enjoy wallowing in other people's misery.’
    • ‘Dull, dismal and discarded, he wallows in misery and loathing.’
    • ‘He makes no apology for his crimes - in fact, he wallows in them.’
    • ‘She didn't sound impressed - she seems to think that I am wallowing in denial.’
    • ‘From a modest beginning she swiftly emerges as a spirited narrator wallowing in the delights of food and sex.’
    • ‘If he'd indulged and relished them and wallowed in them and had wilful malice in what he did… but he was always trying not to be as nasty as he could be.’
    luxuriate, bask, take pleasure, take satisfaction, delight, revel, glory
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  • 1An act of wallowing.

    ‘a wallow in nostalgia’
    • ‘I would like to encourage you to take advantage of it, and to warn against impulses to hide, obscure, wallow, or control.’
    • ‘I was in a wallow of worry anyway, and I didn't want to talk.’
    • ‘The animal-impulse of Miniature Golf rivalry can end in the victorious wallow of gratification or the blaze-of-glory, club-throwing tanty.’
    • ‘Don't miss out on this talk or you're likely to see your club wallow behind the success of others.’
    • ‘Also, I found that I was doing more interesting things with my time and becoming more of the person that I wanted to be while I watched my old friend just sort of wallow.’
    • ‘If I get thumbs down, I'll just wallow somewhere in a drink afterwards.’
    • ‘It was then that Leo was first exposed to Austin's more severe insecure side as he witnessed his friend wallow and suffer for a year to get Juliet's attention.’
    • ‘But the music is often painfully beautiful, especially the love song Marie and the emotional wallow of Guilty, and Newman's craftsmanship is consistently staggering.’
    • ‘After watching Darrell Waltrip wallow miserably over the final years of his career, Wallace won't share that fate.’
    • ‘The worst thing we can do is wallow around in self - pity.’
    • ‘It's honestly not love, it's obsession and for her to want to hurt my so-called ‘friend’ whilst she lets Simon wallow is just heartless, especially when she was complaining of being hurt when he did it!’
    • ‘It's interesting that Sharon thinks that the appropriate reaction is a lyric describing how it feels for us, something to give us all a bit of a wallow, rather than a call to arms.’
    • ‘But for now, while Brenda is prepared to grin and bare it, I am going to make like the proverbial pig and wallow.’
    • ‘I had plans to curl up in bed, ignore the world and wallow.’
    • ‘While fans of courtroom drama and reality TV will undoubtedly eat this series up, I can't say that I especially enjoyed this wallow through the smarmy world of crime and punishment.’
    • ‘I go screaming up again while the others wallow.’
    • ‘If you don't know the music and you enjoy a good post-Romantic wallow, you have lots to choose from.’
    • ‘Still, those who enjoy a good wallow might not mind as much.’
    • ‘Rory gets buckets of chocolate ice cream, wallows, let's her mom comfort her, cries.’
    • ‘My nightly wallow has become such a ritual that I rarely miss it, regardless of where I am or at what time I get in - and if the water is anything less than piping hot, I'd rather go without.’
  • 2A depression containing mud or shallow water, formed by the wallowing of large mammals.

    ‘a buffalo wallow’
    • ‘The goats forage, trample, and create wallows, scraping away surface material and accelerating soil erosion.’
    • ‘Old seal wallows, treacherously covered with floating vegetation, lay in wait for the unwary.’
    • ‘They are great diggers of wallows and water-holes and they help other animals to access water.’
    • ‘Subdominant males form separate bachelor groups often in isolated ponds or wallows.’
    • ‘We contemplated having to prusik back up the narrow pitch, should the wallows be impassable, and soon persuaded ourselves to leave it for another day.’
    • ‘Only this way will you see if the seat gives you a numb bum in 30 minutes, whether is has enough oomph to do what you need, whether it rides like a dray or wallows like a pregnant porpoise.’
    • ‘Some of these seeds are blown in by prairie winds; others are carried there in the coats of the wallowing bison - perhaps picked up in another wallow.’
    • ‘Dog managed to get himself muddier than a hippo in its favourite wallow.’
    • ‘The previous morning while we drove through a dust-ridden wallow, we had approached a Maasai Warrior walking barefoot through the grasslands.’
    • ‘They rode bikes up and down hills, they ran over fields, the kids jumping into mud wallows.’
    • ‘A nice section of low, wet wallows are the main attraction in the Giant's Windpipe, which was so much fun I almost wanted to do it twice.’
    • ‘At the edge of the wallow, a young brown and white steer was standing knee deep in the muck, calling to his mother, and she was moaning back at him.’
    • ‘Beyond the horse paddock, a troop of capybaras, pig-size aquatic rodents, emerged from the tree line and settled serenely into a wallow.’
    • ‘‘Old Eph’ finally took a misstep in the night, and the jaws of the steel trap Clark had hidden in the bear's wallow bit into his right front paw.’
    • ‘We often observed confused babirusas searching for lost wallows and pangi trees, and each day saw babirusa skulls lying in the clear streams - remains of the logging team's meal the previous evening.’
    • ‘He knew that despite Ivo's scrubbing he was still as foul as a pig in a wallow, and yet the knight slept in the same bed with him, and offered him closeness and comfort.’


Old English walwian ‘to roll about’, of Germanic origin, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin volvere to roll.