v. swam (swăm), swum (swŭm), swim·ming, swims
a. To move through or on top of water by moving the limbs, fins, or tail or by undulating the body: Ducks swam in the pond.
b. To play or relax in water: The children went swimming in the surf.
2. To float on water or another liquid: Suds swam on the surface of the dishwater.
a. To be covered or flooded with a liquid: chicken swimming in gravy.
b. To possess a superfluity; abound: After winning the lottery, she was swimming in money.
4. To experience a floating or giddy sensation; be dizzy: "his brain still swimming with the effects of the last night's champagne" (Robert Smith Surtees).
5. To appear to float or spin slowly: The room swam before my eyes.
1. To move through or across (a body of water or a distance) by swimming: She swam the channel. I swam 10 laps.
2. To execute (a particular stroke) in swimming.
a. The act of swimming: went for a swim before lunch.
b. A distance covered by or period of time spent swimming.
2. An area, as of a river, abounding in fish.
Of, relating to, or used for swimming: a swim mask.
in the swim
Active in the general current of affairs.
swim against the stream
To move counter to a prevailing trend.
[Middle English swimmen, from Old English swimman.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.