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swim / swim/ • v. (swim·ming; past swam / swam/ ; past part. swum / swəm/ ) 1. [intr.] propel the body through water by using the limbs, or (in the case of a fish or other aquatic animal) by using fins, tail, or other bodily movement: they swam ashore Adrian taught her to swim breaststroke. ∎  [tr.] cross (a particular stretch of water) in this way: she swam the Channel. ∎  float on or at the surface of a liquid: bubbles swam on the surface. ∎  [tr.] cause to float or move across water: the Russians were able to swim their infantry carriers across.2. [intr.] be immersed in or covered with liquid: mashed potatoes swimming in gravy.3. [intr.] appear to reel or whirl before one's eyes: Emily rubbed her eyes as the figures swam before her eyes. ∎  experience a dizzily confusing sensation in one's head: the drink made his head swim.• n. 1. an act or period of swimming: we went for a swim in the river.2. a pool in a river that is a particularly good spot for fishing: he landed two 5 lb chub from the same swim.PHRASES: in the swim involved in or aware of current affairs or events.swim with (or against) the tide act in accordance with (or against) the prevailing opinion or tendency.DERIVATIVES: swim·ma·ble adj.swim·mer n.