Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary



SWEET-SMELLING, a. [sweet and smell.] Having a sweet smell; fragrant.

SWELL, v.i. pret. swelled; pp. swelled. Swollen is nearly obsolete.

1. To grow larger; to dilate or extend the exterior surface or dimensions by matter added to the interior part, or by expansion of the inclosed substance. Thus the legs swell in dropsy; a bruised part swells; a tumor swells; a bladder swells by inflation.

2. To increase in size or extent by any addition; as, a river swells and overflows its banks.

3. To rise or be driven into waves or billows. In a tempest, the ocean swells into waves mountain high.

4. To be puffed up or bloated; as, to swell with pride.

5. To be gloated with anger; to be exasperated. He swells with rage.

6. To be inflated; to belly; as swelling sails.

7. To be turgid or bombastic; as swelling words; a swelling style.

8. To protuberate; to bulge out; as, a cask swells in the middle.

9. To be elated; to rise into arrogance.

Your equal mind yet swells not into state.

10. To grow more violent; as, a moderate passion may swell to fury.

11. To grow upon the view; to become larger.

--And monarachs to be hold the swelling scene.

12. To become larger in amount. Many little debts added, swell to a great amount.

13. To become louder; as, a sound gradually swells as it approaches.

14. To strut; to look big.

--Swelling like a turkey cock.

15. To rise in altitude; as, land swells into hills.

SWELL, v.t. To increase the size, bulk or dimensions of; to cause to rise, dilate or increase. Rains and dissolving snow swell the rivers in spring, and cause floods. Jordan is swelled by the snows of mount Libanus.

1. To aggravate; to highten.

It is low ebb with the accuser, when such peccadillos are put to swell the charge.

2. To raise to arrogance; as, to be swelled with pride or haughtiness.

3. To enlarge. These sums swell the amount of taxes to a fearful size. These victories served to swell the fame of the commander.

4. In music, to augment, as the sound of a note.

SWELL, n. Extension of bulk.

1. Increase, as sound; as the swell of a note.

2. A gradual ascent or elevation of land; as an extensive plain abounding with little swells.

3. A wave or billow; more generally, a succession of large waves; as, a heavy swell sets into the harbor. Swell is also used to denote the waves or fluctuation of the sea after a storm, and the waves that roll in and break upon the shore.

4. In an organ, a certain number of pipes inclosed in a box, which being uncovered, produce a swell of sound.

SWELLED, pp. Enlarged in bulk; inflated; tumefied.

SWELLING, ppr. Growing or enlarging in its dimensions; growing tumid; inflating; growing tumid; inflating; growing or making louder.

SWELLING, n. A tumor, or any morbid enlargement of the natural size; as a swelling on the hand or leg.

1. Protuberance; prominence.

The superficies of such plates are not even, but have many cavities and swellings.

2. A rising or enlargement by passion; as the swellings of anger, grief or pride.

SWELT, for swelled, is not in use.

SWELT, v.i. To faint; to swoon.
SWELT, v.t. To overpower, as with heat; to cause to faint. [We now use swelter.]

SWELTER, v.i. [from swelt.] To be overcome and faint with heat; to be ready to perish with heat.

SWELTER, v.t. To oppress with heat.

SWELTERED, pp. Oppressed with heat.

SWELTERING, ppr. Fainting or languishing with heat; oppressing with heat.

SWELTRY, a. Suffocating with heat; oppressive with heat; sultry. [See Sultry, which is probably a contraction of sweltry.]

SWEPT, pret. and pp. of sweep.

SWERD, for sward, is not in use.

SWERVE, v.i. swerv.

1. To wander; to rove.

The swerving vines on the tall elms prevail.

2. To wander from any line prescribed, or from a rule of duty; to depart from what is established by law, duty or custom; to deviate.

I swerve not from thy commandments.

They swerve from the strict letter of the law.

Many who, through the contagion of evil example, swerve exceedingly from the rules of their holy religion--

3. To bend; to incline.

4. To climb or move forward by winding or turning.

The tree was high,

Yet nimbly up from bough to bough I swerv’d.

[This use of the word coincides with that of swarm, which see.]

SWERVING, ppr. Roving; wandering; deviating from any rule or standard; inclining; climbing or moving by winding and turning.

SWERVING, n. The act of wandering; deviation from any rule, law, duty or standard.


1. Moving a great distance or over a large space in a short time; moving with celerity or velocity; fleet; rapid; quick; speedy. We say, soft winds, a swift stream, swift lightnings, swift motion, swift as thought, a fowl swift of wing, a man swift of foot. Swift is applicable to any kind of motion.

2. Ready; prompt.

Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. James 1:19.

3. Speedy; that comes without delay.

There shall be false teachers among you, who shall privily bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 Peter 2:1.

SWIFT, n. The current of a stream. [Little used.]

1. In domestic affairs, a reel or turning instrument for winding yarn. [This is a sense directly from the Saxon verb.]

2. A bird, a species of swallow, so called from the rapidity of its flight.

3. The common newt or eft, a species of lizard.

SWIFTER, n. In a ship, a rope used to confine the bars of the capstan in their sockets, while men are turning it; also, a rope used to encircle a boat longitudinally, to strengthen and defend her sides from the impulse of other boats. Swifters also are two shrouds fixed on the starboard and larboard sides of the lower masts, above all the other shrouds, to give the masts additional security.

SWIFTER, v.t. To stretch, as shrouds by tackles.

SWIFTLY, adv. Fleetly; rapidly; with celerity; with quick motion or velocity.

Pleas’d with the passage, we slide swiftly on.

SWIFTNESS, n. Speed; rapid motion; quickness; celerity; velocity; rapidity. Swiftness is a word of general import, applicable to every kind of motion, and to every thing that moves; as the swiftness of a bird; the swiftness of a stream; swiftness of descent in a falling body; swiftness of thought, etc.

SWIG, v.t. or i. To drink by large draughts; to suck greedily.

SWIG, n. A large draught. [Vulgar.]

1. In seamen’s language, a pulley with ropes which are not parallel.

SWIG, v.t. To castrate, as a ram, by binding the testicles tight with a string. [Local.]

SWILL, v.t.

1. To drink grossly or greedily; as, to swill down great quantities of liquors.

2. To wash; to drench.

3. To inebriate; to swell with fullness.

I should be loth

To meet the rudeness and swill’d insolence

Of such late wassailers.

SWILL, n. Large draughts of liquor; or drink taken in excessive quantities.

1. The wash or mixture of liquid substances, given to swine; called in some places swillings.

SWILLED, pp. Swallowed grossly in large quantities.

SWILLER, n. One who drinks voraciously.

SWILLING, ppr. Swallowing excessive quantities of liquors.

SWILLINGS, n. Swill.

SWIM, v.i.

1. To float; to be supported on water or other fluid; not to sink. Most species of wood will swim in water. Any substance will swim, whose specific gravity is less than that of the fluid in which it is immersed.

2. To move progressively in water by means of the motion of the hands and feet, or of fins. In Paris, boys are taught to swim by instructors appointed for that purpose. Isaiah 25:11.

Leap in with me into this angry flood,

And swim to yonder point.

3. To float; to be borne along by a current. In all states there are men who will swim with the tide of popular opinion.

4. To glide along with a smooth motion, or with a waving motion.

She with pretty and with swimming gait.

A hov’ring mist came swimming o’er his sight.

5. To be dizzy or vertiginous; to have a waving motion of the head or a sensation of that kind, or a reeling of the body. The head swims when we walk on high.

6. To be floated; to be overflowed or drenched; as, the earth swims in rain.

Sudden the ditches swell, the meadows swim.

All the night I make my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears. Psalm 6:6.

7. To overflow; to abound; to have abundance.

They now swim in joy.

SWIM, v.t. To pass or move on; as, to swim a stream. Deer are known to swim rivers and sounds.

Sometimes he thought to swim the stormy main.

1. To immerse in water that the lighter parts may swim; as, to swim wheat for seed.

SWIMM, n. The bladder of fishes, by which they are said to be supported in water.

SWIMMER, n. One that swims.

1. A protuberance on the leg of a horse.

SWIMMING, ppr. Floating on a fluid; moving on a fluid; having a waving or reeling motion; overflowing; abounding.

SWIMMING, n. The act or art of moving on the water by means of the limbs; a floating.

1. Dizziness.

SWIMMINGLY, adv. Smoothly; without obstruction; with great success. [Not elegant.]

SWINDLE, v.t. To cheat and defraud grossly, or with deliberate artifice; as, to swindle a man out of his property.

SWINDLED, pp. Grossly cheated and defrauded.

SWINDLER, n. A cheat; a rogue; one who defrauds grossly, or one who makes a practice of defrauding others by imposition or deliberate artifice.

SWINE, n. sing. and plu. A hog, a quadruped of the genus Sus, which furnishes man with a large portion of his most nourishing food. The fat or lard of this animal enters into various dishes in cookery. The swine is a heavy, stupid animal, and delights to wallow in the mire.

SWINE-BREAD, n. A kind of plant, truffle.

SWINE-CASE, SWINE-COAT, SWINE-CRUE, n. A hog sty; a pen for swine. [Local.]

SWINE-GRASS, n. [L. centinodia, knot grass.] A plant.

SWINEHERD, n. [swine and herd.] A keeper of swing.

SWINE-OAT, n. [swine and oat.] A kind of oats, cultivated for the use of pigs, as in Cornwall; the Avena nuda of botanists.

SWINE-PIPE, n. [swine and pipe.] A bird, the red-wing. [Local.]

SWINE-POCKS, SWINE-POX, n. The chicken-pocks. A variety of the chicken-pocks, with acuminated vesicles containing a watery fluid; the water pox.

SWINE’S-CRESS, n. A species of cress, of the genus Cochlearia.

SWINE-STONE, n. [swine and stone.] A name given to those kinds of limestone which, when rubbed, emit a fetid odor, resembling that of naphtha combined with sulphurated hydrogen.

SWINE-STY, n. A sty or pen for swine.

SWINE-THISTLE, n. A plant, the sow thistle.

SWING, v.i. pret. and pp. swung.

1. To move to and fro, as a body suspended in the air; to wave; to vibrate.

I tried if a pendulum would swing faster, or continue swinging longer in our receiver, if exhausted.

2. To practice swinging; as, a man swings for health or pleasure.

3. To move or float; also, to turn round an anchor; as, a ship swings with the tide.

SWING, v.t. To make to play loosely; to cause to wave or vibrate; as a body suspended in the air.

1. To whirl round in the air.

--Swing thee in air, then dash thee down.

2. To wave; to move to and from; as, a man swings his arms when he walks.

He swings his tail, and swiftly turns him round.

3. To brandish; to flourish.

SWING, n. A waving or vibratory motion; oscillation; as the swing of a pendulum.

1. Motion from one side to the other. A haughty man struts or walks with a swing.

2. A line, cord or other thing suspended and hanging loose; also, an apparatus suspended for persons to swing in.

3. Influence or power of a body put in motion.

The ram that batters down the wall,

For the great swing and rudeness of his poise--

4. Free course; unrestrained liberty or license.

Take thy swing.

To prevent any thing which may prove an obstacle to the full swing of his genius.

5. The sweep or compass of a moving body.

6. Unrestrained tendency; as the prevailing swing of corrupt nature; the swing of propensities.

SWING-BRIDGE, n. [swing and bridge.] A bridge that may be moved by swinging; used on canals.

SWINGE, v.t. swinj.

1. To beat soundly; to whip; to bastinade; to chastise; to punish.

You swing’d me for my love.

--And swings his own vices in his son.

2. To move as a lash. [Not in use.]

[This verb is obsolescent and vulgar.]

SWINGE, n. swinj. A sway; a swing; the sweep of any thing in motion [Not in use.]

SWINGE-BUCKLER, n. swingj-buckler. A bully; one who pretends to feats of arms. [Not in use.]

SWINGER, n. One who swings; one who hurls.

SWINGING, ppr. of swing. Waving; vibrating; brandishing.

SWINGING, n. The act of swinging; an exercise for health or pleasure.
SWINGING, ppr. of swinge. Beating soundly.

1. a. Hugh; very large. [Vulgar.]

SWINGINGLY, adv. Vastly; hugely. [Vulgar.]

SWINGLE, v.i. [from swing.] To dangle; to wave hanging.

1. To swing for pleasure. [Not in use.]

SWINGLE, v.t. To beat; to clean flax by beating it with a wooden instrument resembling a large knife, and called in New England a swingling knife. Flax is first broke and then swingled.
SWINGLE, n. In wire-works, a wooden spoke fixed to the barrel that draws the wire; also, a crank.

SWINGLED, pp. Beat and cleaned by a swingling knife.

SWINGLE-TREE, n. A whiffle-tree or whipple-tree.

SWINGLING, ppr. Beating and cleaning, as flax.

SWINGLING-KNIFE, SWINGLE, n. A wooden instrument like a large knife, about two feet long, with one thin edge, used for cleaning flax of the shives.

SWINGLING-TOW, n. The coarse part of flax, separated from the finer by swingling and hatcheling.

SWING-TREE, n. [swing and tree.] The bar of a carriage to which the traces are fastened. In America, it is often or generally called the whiffle-tree, or whipple-tree.

SWING-WHEEL, n. [swing and wheel.] In a time piece, the wheel which drives the pendulum. In a watch, or balance clock, it is called the crown-wheel.

SWINISH, a. [from swine.] Befitting swine; like swine; gross; hoggish; brutal; as a swinish drunkard or sot; swinish gluttony.

SWINK, v.i. To labor; to toil; to drudge.

SWINK, v.t. To overlabor.
SWINK, n. Labor; toil; drudgery.

SWINKER, n. A laborer; a plowman.

SWIPE, n. A swape or sweep, which see.

SWIPPER, a. Nimble; quick. [Not in use.]

SWISS, n. A native of Switzerland or Swisserland.

1. The language of Swisserland.

SWITCH, n. A small flexible twig or rod.

On the medal, Mauritania leads a horse by a thread with one hand, and in the other holds a switch.

SWITCH, v.t. To strike with a small twig or rod; to beat; to lash.
SWITCH, v.i. To walk with a jerk.

SWIVEL, n. swiv’l.

1. A ring which turns upon a staple; or a strong link of iron used in mooring ships, and which permits the bridles to be turned round; any ring or staple that turns.

2. A small cannon or piece of artillery, carrying a shot of half a pound, fixed on a socket on the top of a ship’s side, stern or bow, or in her tops, in such a manner as to be turned in any direction.

SWIVEL, v.i. swiv’l. To turn on a staple, pin or pivot.

SWIVEL-HOOK, n. A hook that turns in the end of an iron block strap, for the ready taking the turns out of a tackle.

SWOB, n. A mop. [See Swab.]

SWOB, v.t. To clean or wipe with a swob. [See Swab.]

SWOBBER, n. One who swabs or cleans with a mop. [See Swabber.]

1. Swobbers, four privileged cards, only used incidentally in betting at the game of whist.

SWOLLEN, SWOLN, pp. of swell; irregular and obsolescent. The regular participle, swelled, is to be preferred.

SWOM, old pret. of swim, is obsolete. We now use swum and swam.

SWOON, v.i. To faint; to sink into a fainting fit, in which there is a suspension of the apparent vital functions and mental powers.

The most in years swoon’d first away for pain.

He seemed ready to swoon away in the surprise of joy.

SWOON, n. A fainting fit; lipothymy; syncope.

SWOONING, ppr. Fainting away.

SWOONING, n. The act of fainting; syncope.

SWOOP, v.t. [This is probably from sweep, or the same root.]

1. To fall on at once and seize; to catch while on the wing; as, a hawk swoops a chicken; a kite swoops up a mouse.

2. To seize; to catchup; to take with a sweep.

3. To pass with violence.

SWOOP, v.i. To pass with pomp.
SWOOP, n. A falling on and seizing, as of a rapacious fowl on his prey.

The eagle fell--and carried away a whole litter of cubs at a swoop.

SWOP, v.t. To exchange; to barter; to give one commodity for another. [See Swap. This is a common word, but not in elegant use.]


1. An offensive weapon worn at the side, and used by hand either for thrusting or cutting.

2. Figuratively, destruction by war.

I will bring a sword upon you. Leviticus 26:25; Isaiah 51:19.

3. Vengeance or justice.

She quits the balance, and resigns the sword.

4. Emblem of authority and power.

The ruler--beareth not the sword in vain. Romans 13:4.

5. War; dissension.

I came not to send peace, but a sword. Matthew 10:34.

6. Emblem of triumph and protection.

The Lord--the sword of thy excellence. Deuteronomy 33:29.

SWORD-BEARER, n. [sword and bear.] An officer in the city of London, who carries a sword as an emblem of justice before the lord mayor when he goes abroad.

SWORD-BELT, n. [sword and belt.] A belt by which a sword is suspended and borne by the side.

SWORD-BLADE, n. [sword and blade.] The blade or cutting part of a sword.

SWORDED, a. Girded with a sword.

SWORDER, n. A soldier; a cut-throat. [Not in use.]

SWORD-FIGHT, n. [sword and fight.] Fencing; a combat or trial of skill with swords.

SWORD-FISH, n. [sword and fish.] A genus of fishes called in ichthyology, xiphias; so named from the nose, snout or upper jaw, which is shaped like a sword.

SWORD-GRASS, n. [sword and grass.] A kind of sedge, glader; the sweet rush, a species of Acorus.

SWORD-KNOT, n. [sword and knot.] A ribin tied to the hilt of a sword.

SWORD-LAW, n. [sword and law.] Violence; government by force.

SWORD-MAN, n. [sword and man.] A soldier; a fighting man.

SWORD-PLAYER, n. [sword and player.] A fencer; a gladiator; one who exhibits his skill in the use of the sword.

SWORD-SHAPED, a. [sword and shape.] Ensiform; shaped like a sword; as a sword-shaped leaf.

SWORE, pret. of swear.

SWORN, pp. of swear. The officers of government are sworn to a faithful discharge of their duty.

Sworn friends, is a phrase equivalent to determined, close or firm friends.

I am sworn brother, sweet,

To grim necessity.

Sworn enemies, are determined or irreconcilable enemies.

SWOUND, v.i. To swoon. [Not in use.]

SWUM, pret. and pp. of swim.

SWUNG, pret. and pp. of swing.

SYB, SIB, a. Related by blood.

SYBARITIC, SYBARITICAL, a. [from Sybaritoe, inhabitants of Sybaris, in Italy, who were proverbially voluptuous.] Luxurious; wanton.

SYCAMINE. [See Sycamore.]

SYCAMORE, n. [Gr. a fig.] A species of fig-tree. The name is also given to the Acer majus, [A. pseudo-platanus,] a species of maple.

This name is also given to the plane tree or button-wood, of the genus Platanus.

SYCAMORE-MOTH, n. A large and beautiful moth or night butterfly; so called because its caterpillar feeds on the leaves of the sycamore.

SYCITE, n. [Gr. fig.] Fig-stone; a name which some authors give to nodules of flint or pebbles which resemble a fig.

SYCOPHANCY, n. [infra.] Originally, information of the clandestine exportation of figs; hence, mean talebearing; obsequious flattery; servility.