Etymology
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swell (v.)

Old English swellan "grow or make bigger" (past tense sweall, past participle swollen), from Proto-Germanic *swellanan (source also of Old Saxon swellan, Old Norse svella, Old Frisian swella, Middle Dutch swellen, Dutch zwellen, Old High German swellan, German schwellen), which is of unknown origin, perhaps a substratum word. Of emotions from late 14c., of music from 1749. Related: swelled; swollen; swelling.

swell (n.)

c. 1200, "a morbid swelling," from swell (v.). In reference to a rise of the sea, it is attested from c. 1600; of music, by 1803. The meaning "wealthy, elegant person" is first recorded 1786, connected to the now-obsolete sense "pompousness, arrogance" (1724), both from the notion of "puffed-up" demeanor or behavior.

swell (adj.)

"fashionably dressed or equipped," 1810, from swell (n.) in the "stylish person" sense. As "good, excellent," by 1897; as a stand-alone expression of satisfaction it is recorded from 1930 in American English.

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Definitions of swell
1
swell (v.)
increase in size, magnitude, number, or intensity;
The music swelled to a crescendo
swell (v.)
become filled with pride, arrogance, or anger;
The mother was swelling with importance when she spoke of her son
Synonyms: puff up
swell (v.)
expand abnormally;
The bellies of the starving children are swelling
Synonyms: swell up / intumesce / tumefy / tumesce
swell (v.)
come up (as of feelings and thoughts, or other ephemeral things);
Smoke swelled from it
Synonyms: well up
swell (v.)
come up, as of a liquid;
Synonyms: well
swell (v.)
cause to become swollen;
The water swells the wood
2
swell (n.)
the undulating movement of the surface of the open sea;
Synonyms: crestless wave
swell (n.)
a rounded elevation (especially one on an ocean floor);
swell (n.)
a crescendo followed by a decrescendo;
swell (n.)
a man who is much concerned with his dress and appearance;
Synonyms: dandy / dude / fop / gallant / sheik / beau / fashion plate / clotheshorse
3
swell (adj.)
very good;
Synonyms: bang-up / bully / corking / cracking / dandy / great / groovy / keen / neat / nifty / not bad / peachy / slap-up / smashing / old
From wordnet.princeton.edu