Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
1. Literally, to swim (in something or some place) aimlessly or from place to place. We spent the whole afternoon swimming around in the lake by the cabin. The water in the pool is shallow enough that kids can just swim around on their own.
2. To flit around (in something or some place) very quickly or intangibly. I had so many people's names swimming around in my head by the end of the evening that I couldn't keep any of them straight. There are some rumors swimming around that the company is going to start laying people off.
swim in front of (one's) eyes
To appear in or cloud one's vision. Usually said of floaters (clumps of fibers in the eye) or rings, spots, or flashes of light or dark (called phosphenes). I stood up too quickly, causing flashes of light to swim in front of my eyes. A: "My daughter's had these floaters swimming in front of her eyes recently." B: "Isn't she a bit young for that to be happening?"
swim before (one's) eyes
To appear in or cloud one's vision. Usually said of floaters (clumps of fibers in the eye) or rings, spots, or flashes of light (called phosphenes). I stood up too quickly, causing flashes of light to swim before my eyes. A: "My daughter's had these floaters swimming before her eyes recently." B: "Isn't she a bit young for that to be happening?"
swim for (someone or something)
To attempt to reach someone or something by swimming. The lifeguard swam for the girl, but he couldn't reach her in time. Our boat had started filling with water, so we jumped overboard and swam for shore.
swim for it
1. To attempt to reach something or some place by swimming, especially as a last resort. Our boat had almost completely filled with water before we were able to reach the shore, so we had to swim for it the rest of the way.
2. To attempt to escape (someone or something) by swimming. The prison is on an island, so anyone who tries to escape will have to swim for it in shark-infested waters.
swim into (something)
1. To swim from location or one body of water into another. We squeezed through a crack in the wall of the underwater cave and were able to swim into a tiny moonlight chamber. Don't go too far out—the tide will make it very hard to swim back into shore. Please swim into the shallow end. It makes me nervous when you're in the deeper water like that.
2. To swim in the opposite direction of some force, such as a tide, current, wave, etc. The worst part of the triathlon was the swimming, because we had to swim into the current nearly the whole way. You'll have to swim into the smaller waves with your board to get to the part of the water where the waves are big enough to lift you up onto the surfboard.
swim toward (someone or something)
To move toward someone or something by swimming. We began swimming toward shore when we saw the dark storm clouds gathering on the horizon. That's it, sweetie! Keep kicking you legs and paddling with your arms as you swim toward me.
swim with (someone or something)
1. To swim alongside or in the vicinity of someone or an animal. We had the chance to swim with dolphins while we were in Hawaii. I spent the whole day swimming with my kids at the beach.
2. To swim in the same direction of some force in the water, especially a tide or current. Use longer strokes if you find yourself swimming with the current during the race. We should be swimming with the tide at that hour, so I don't expect it to be too taxing.
3. 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. Used in the phrase "swim with the tide/current/stream." 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 stream just because it's the easier option!
4. To be murdered and have one's body disposed of in a body of water. Used especially in the gangster cliché "swim with the fishes." Don't worry, boss, that no-good snitch will be swimming with the fishes before sunrise. He'll swim with the fishes if he so much as breathes a word of our operations to anyone.
5. To be involved with cunning, treacherous, or dangerous people. Used in the phrase "swim with sharks." 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 those sharks, consider this—the last guy who went into business with them wound up dead!
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.
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.