Etymology
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welter (v.)

"to roll or twist," early 14c., from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German welteren "to roll," from Proto-Germanic *waltijan (source also of Old English wieltan, Old Norse velta, Old High German walzan "to turn, revolve," German wälzen "to roll," Gothic waltjan "to roll"), from PIE root *wel- (3) "to turn, revolve." Related: Weltered; weltering.

welter (n.)

1590s, "confusion," from welter (v.). The meaning "confused mass" is attested by 1851.

updated on January 23, 2019

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Definitions of welter from WordNet
1
welter (v.)
toss, roll, or rise and fall in an uncontrolled way;
The shipwrecked survivors weltered in the sea for hours
welter (v.)
roll around;
Synonyms: wallow
welter (v.)
be immersed in;
welter in work
2
welter (n.)
a confused multitude of things;
Synonyms: clutter / jumble / muddle / fuddle / mare's nest / smother
From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.