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

swim with sharks

1. Literally, to be in the water with sharks. My brother is a real adventurer—he's bungee jumped before and has even swam with sharks!
2. To be involved with cunning, possibly dangerous, people. I know you think you're a hustler, but you're swimming with sharks now—you could lose all your money against these guys. Before you start swimming with sharks, consider this—the last guy who went into business with them wound up dead!
See also: shark, swim

be in the swim (of things)

To be actively involved in and knowledgeable about something. It took me a few months to adjust to my new job, but now I'm really in the swim of things. I want to be in the swim when I come back from leave, so I get updates from my team every week.
See also: swim

swim with the tide

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 tide more often. I'm sorry, but I simply refuse to swim with the tide just because it's the easier option!
See also: swim, tide

swim against the current

To go against or disagree with a prevailing or popularly held opinion or perspective; to act or behave contrary to the majority of others. I really swam against the current when I was in college with some really 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 against the current instead of making things a little easier on yourself!
See also: current, swim

swim against the tide

To go against or disagree with a prevailing or popularly held opinion or perspective; to act or behave contrary to the majority of others. I really swam against the tide when I was in college with some really 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 against the tide instead of making things a little easier on yourself!
See also: swim, tide

*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

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

sink or swim

If someone has to sink or swim, they have to try to succeed on their own, and whether they succeed or fail depends completely on their own efforts and abilities. After three years of teaching and support at music college, musicians are left to sink or swim in the profession. Note: You can use sink-or-swim before a noun. Tomorrow afternoon, it's sink-or-swim time, her first game.
See also: sink, swim

swim against the stream

or

go against the stream

If you swim against the stream or go against the stream, you do or say the opposite of what most other people are doing or saying. He was brave enough to be different and swim against the stream. If you live in a different culture, you can feel as if you are going against the stream.
See also: stream, swim

swim against the tide

If you swim against the tide, you do or say the opposite of what most other people are doing or saying. Sinclair seems to be swimming against the tide by not retiring at 60. Thank you for having the courage to swim against the tide and stand up for the qualities that built this great country. Note: You can also say that someone swims with the tide to mean that they act in the same way as most other people. Many great cathedrals are attempting to swim with the tide and bring in tourists to replace the worshippers who no longer come.
See also: swim, tide

sink or swim

fail or succeed entirely by your own efforts.
See also: sink, swim

in the swim

involved in or aware of current affairs or events.
See also: swim

ˌsink or ˈswim

(saying) be in a situation where you will either succeed without help from other people, or fail completely: The government refused to give the company any help, and just left it to sink or swim.
See also: sink, swim

go, swim, etc. with/against the ˈstream/ˈtide

behave/not behave in the same way as most other people: He’s a fashion designer who’s always swum against the stream; his work is very original.Why do you always have to go against the tide?
See also: stream, tide

in(to) the ˈswim (of things)

(informal) involved in things that are happening in society or in a particular situation: After being away for two years, it took her a while to get back into the swim of things.
See also: swim

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 periodicals archive ?
Other respondents might consider current water quality to be fishable but not swimmable.
Now is it going to be swimmable is a larger question, because we don't know to what extent the combined sewer overflow has contributed to the problem.
States, tribes, and commonwealths routinely abuse this discretionary authority to circumvent the most basic objectives of the CWA: to prohibit discharge of toxic substances in toxic amounts, ensure that all waters be swimmable and fish.
1985; achieving fishable and swimmable waters by 1983, wherever
Now, as eutrophication worsens, there is increasing public pressure to develop pools because many of the lakes are no longer swimmable.
Citizens who feel that there is nothing noteworthy about their locale may discover that rivers can be made clean and swimmable, prairies wild and open, that an abandoned rail line can become a wooded ski trail, a wildlife habitat, a communal space -- a place-ballet to choreograph as their own.
More of the nation's rivers and lakes are now "fishable and swimmable.
The Environmental Protection Agency has left it up to the states to develop and enforce state-specific water quality criteria that protect the fishable and swimmable uses of its waters.
Our ocean is warmer, our beaches are whiter, our water is more swimmable," a visitor from Atlanta once scrawled in the guest book at the Elk Cove Inn.
So to me fishable, swimmable standards in Clear Creek don't make sense.
We are moving quickly on our commitment to make Ontario's waters drinkable, fishable and swimmable," he added.
Congress typically prescribes absolutist environmental goals--"fishable and swimmable water" everywhere in the United States, air quality that protects public health "with an adequate margin of safety"--and instructs the Environmental Protection Agency to attain them promptly, by a certain date, and without regard to cost or technological feasibility.
To juxtapose this comment with Fitzgerald's idea of writing as swimming underwater is to reveal two poles of the writing experience as Fitzgerald conceived it: timeless, seamless glide and time-bound struggle with resistant material; smooth, swimmable water and recalcitrant, even grossly repulsive ink.
For example," Beranek explains, "The Clean Water Act says that water must be fishable, swimmable and drinkable.
Surface waters that achieve this level of quality are classified under the act as fishable and swimmable.