swim

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swim against the stream

To act or behave in opposition or contrary to what is generally understood, assumed, practiced, or accepted. I had to swim against the stream to get the company to adopt more eco-friendly habits, but I think it will be worth it in the long run.
See also: stream, swim

be swimming with the fishes

gangster cliché To be murdered and have one's body disposed of in a river, lake, or ocean. (A less common variant of "be sleeping with the fishes.") Don't worry, boss, that no-good snitch will be swimming with the fishes before sunrise.
See also: Fishes, swimming

swim upstream

To go against or disagree with a prevailing or popularly held opinion or perspective; to act or behave contrary to the majority of others. When I was in college, I really swam upstream with some radical opinions, but as I've grown older, I've found myself falling more in line with others. I don't understand why you always have to swim upstream instead of making things a little easier on yourself!
See also: swim

swim with the current

To go along or agree with the prevailing or popularly held opinion or perspective; to act or behave the same way as the majority of others. When I was in college, I used to have a lot of radical opinions and beliefs, but as I've grown older, I find myself swimming with the current more often. I'm sorry, but I simply refuse to swim along with the current just because it's the easier option!
See also: current, swim

swim with the stream

To go along or agree with the prevailing or popularly held opinion or perspective; to act or behave the same way as the majority of others. When I was in college, I used to have a lot of radical opinions and beliefs, but as I've grown older, I find myself swimming with the stream more often. I'm sorry, but I simply refuse to swim along with the stream just because it's the easier option!
See also: stream, swim

*in the swim of things

Fig. involved in or participating in events or happenings. (*Typically: be ~; get [into]~.) I've been ill, but soon I'll be back in the swim of things. I can't wait to settle down and get into the swim of things.
See also: of, swim, thing

make someone's head swim

 and make someone's head spin 
1. Fig. to make someone dizzy or disoriented. Riding the merry-go-round makes my head spin. Breathing the gas made my head swim.
2. Fig. to confuse or overwhelm someone. All these numbers make my head swim. The physics lecture made my head spin.
See also: head, make, swim

out of the swim of things

Fig. not in the middle of activity; not involved in things. (The opposite of in the swim of things.) While I had my cold, I got out of the swim of things. I've been out of the swim of things for a few weeks. Please bring me up-to-date.
See also: of, out, swim, thing

sink or swim

Fig. to fail or succeed. (Alludes to the choices available to someone who has fallen into the water.) After I've studied and learned all I can, I have to take the test and sink or swim. It's too late to help John now. It's sink or swim for him.
See also: sink, swim

swim against the tide

 and swim against the current 
1. Lit. to swim in a direction opposite to the flow of the water. She became exhausted, swimming against the tide. If you really want strenuous exercise, go out in the stream and swim against the current.
2. Fig. to do something that is in opposition to the general movement of things. Why can't you cooperate? Do you always have to swim against the tide? You always seem to waste your energy swimming against the current.
See also: swim, tide

swim around

to swim here and there. I just like to get into the pool and swim around. I saw only one fish swimming around in your aquarium.
See also: around, swim

swim before someone's eyes

Fig. [for something, such as spots or visions] to appear in one's field of vision. I was getting feverish and spots swam before my eyes. Visions of total destruction swam before my eyes as the bus skidded in the snow.
See also: before, eye, swim

swim for it

to escape by swimming. (See also run for it.) I escaped from the guard, dived into the river, and swam for it. Max swam for it, but he didn't get away.
See also: swim

swim for someone or something

to travel toward someone or something by swimming. I swam for George, who was farther out, holding onto a float. I am going to swim for the island.
See also: swim

swim in something

 
1. Lit. to swim in a body of water. Is it safe to swim in this water? Can we swim in your pool?
2. Fig. to experience an overabundance of something. (Not directly related to {2}) We are just swimming in orders right now. Business is good. Mr. Wilson is swimming in money.
See also: swim

swim into something

to enter something swimming. They swam into a lovely grotto. Ted swam into the cove and got out on the beach.
See also: swim

swim toward someone or something

to swim in the direction of someone or something. Jeff swam toward the drowning man and helped him. I swam toward the boat.
See also: swim, toward

swim with something

to swim in the same direction as the movement of water. Fred had no trouble swimming with the current. Please swim with the current and not against it.
See also: swim

swim in something

to have too much of something The company is swimming in cash and trying to figure out what to do with it. Every meal was swimming in grease.
See also: swim

sink or swim

to fail or succeed Newcomers are given no training - they are simply left to sink or swim.
See also: sink, swim

be in the swim (of things)

to know about and be involved in an activity, especially something that is new or changing When the children were little I still did a day's work a week, just to keep me in the swim of things.
See go against the tide
See also: swim

go/swim against the tide

to do the opposite of what most other people are doing It's not easy to go against the tide in defence of your principles. (sometimes + of ) He always seemed to be swimming against the tide of public opinion.
See drift with the tide, stem the tide, turn the tide
See also: tide

in the swim

Actively participating, in the thick of things, as in He was new in town, but he soon got in the swim at school. This expression alludes to the fishing term for a large number of fish in one area, a so-called swim. [Mid-1800s]
See also: swim

sink or swim

Succumb or succeed, no matter what, as in Now that we've bought the farm, we'll have to make a go of it, sink or swim. This expression alludes to the former barbaric practice of throwing a suspected witch into deep water, often weighted down. In case of sinking, the victim died; in case of swimming, the victim was considered in league with the devil and therefore was executed. A related idiom, float or sink, was used by Chaucer in the late 1300s; Shakespeare had the current form in 1 Henry IV (1:3): "Or sink or swim."
See also: sink, swim

swim against the current

Also, swim against the stream or tide . Go against prevailing opinion or thought, as in I'm voting for him even if that is swimming against the current. Shakespeare used a similar metaphor in 2 Henry IV (5:2): "You must now speak Sir John Falstaff fair, which swims against your stream." For the antonym, see swim with the tide.
See also: current, swim

swim with the tide

Go along with prevailing opinion or thought, as in Irene doesn't have a mind of her own; she just swims with the tide. In the late 1600s this idiom was also put as swim down the stream, a usage not much heard today. The present form was first recorded in 1712. For the antonym, see swim against the current.
See also: swim, tide

swim in

v.
1. To be covered or flooded with or as if with some liquid: This roast beef is swimming in gravy.
2. To possess a large amount of something; abound in something: After winning the lottery, she was swimming in money.
See also: swim

sink or swim

Informal
To fail or succeed without alternative.
See also: sink, swim

in the swim

Active in the general current of affairs.
See also: swim

swim against the stream

To move counter to a prevailing trend.
See also: stream, swim
References in classic literature ?
He jumped into the pond to drown himself once and then changed his mind and swum out again.
So long-winded was he and so unweariable, that when he had swum farthest he would immediately plunge again, nevertheless; and then no wit could divine where in the deep pond, beneath the smooth surface, he might be speeding his way like a fish, for he had time and ability to visit the bottom of the pond in its deepest part.
If I have swum playfully in profound luminous distances, and if my freedom's avian wisdom hath come to me:--
I supposed he must have swum the strait; though what should bring any creature to Earraid, was more than I could fancy.
Oh, I can swim, too, I'm tellin' you,like a fish--I swum, one Sunday, from the Narrow Gauge Pier to Sessions' Basin, an' that's miles--but I never seen anything like that guy in the swimmin' line.
The man's swum off," drawled out Hollis from the locker.
Specimens of all the fishes that swim in the sea, surely had swum their way to it, and if samples of the fishes of divers colours that made a speech in the Arabian Nights (quite a ministerial explanation in respect of cloudiness), and then jumped out of the frying-pan, were not to be recognized, it was only because they had all become of one hue by being cooked in batter among the whitebait.