(swelled; swelled or swollen; swelling)
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English swellan; akin to Old High German swellan to swell
Date: before 12th century
a. to expand (as in size, volume, or numbers) gradually beyond a normal or original limit <the population swelled> b. to become distended or puffed up <her ankle is badly swollen> c. to form a bulge or rounded elevation 2. a. to become filled with pride and arrogance b. to behave or speak in a pompous, blustering, or self-important manner c. to play the swell 3. to become distended with emotion transitive verb 1. to affect with a powerful or expansive emotion 2. to increase the size, number, or intensity of <swell the applicant pool> Synonyms: see expand II. noun Date: 1606 1. a long often massive and crestless wave or succession of waves often continuing beyond or after its cause (as a gale) 2. a. the condition of being protuberant b. a rounded elevation 3. a. the act or process of swelling b. (1) a gradual increase and decrease of the loudness of a musical sound; also a sign indicating a swell (2) a device used in an organ for governing loudness 4. a. archaic an impressive, pompous, or fashionable air or display b. a person dressed in the height of fashion c. a person of high social position or outstanding competence III. adjective Date: 1785 1. a. stylish b. socially prominent 2. excellent — used as a generalized term of enthusiasm
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.