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See also: Swale




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Particularly: "UK and Canadian English"

Etymology 1Edit

Possibly, from Middle English, "shade", perhaps of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse svalr


swale (plural swales)

  1. A low tract of moist or marshy land.
  2. A long narrow and shallow trough between ridges on a beach, running parallel to the coastline.
  3. A shallow troughlike depression that's created to carry water during rainstorms or snow melts; a drainage ditch.
  4. A shallow, usually grassy depression sloping downward from a plains upland meadow or level vegetated ridgetop.
    • 1912, Zane Grey, Riders of the Purple Sage, Chapter 6
      Jane climbed a few more paces behind him and then peeped over the ridge. Just beyond began a shallow swale that deepened and widened into a valley, and then swung to the left.
  5. A shallow trough dug into the land on contour (horizontally with no slope). Its purpose being to allow water time to percolate into the soil.

Etymology 2Edit

See sweal.


swale (plural swales)

  1. (Britain, dialect) A gutter in a candle.


swale (third-person singular simple present swales, present participle swaling, simple past and past participle swaled)

  1. Alternative form of sweal (melt and waste away, or singe)