Exceptional. See: peachy, keen, neato.

Also the name of a music band. Swell makes psychedelicrock/noise music (I'm not sure giving names to music is the right thing to do, but I don't know how to describe it otherwise).

Short Biography

Swell was created in 1987 by David Freel, Tim Adams and Sean Kirkpatrick. After two years, Tim Adams left Swell. Later Mark Signorelli joined the band, but he was later on replaced by Monte Vallier. At about the same time John Dettman joins.
As far as I know, with Niko Wenner this is still the current line-up.


Too many days without thinking(1997)
For all the beautifull people(1998)
Everybody wants to know(2001)

Bookbinding - the difference in thickness between the spine edge of a sewn book block and the fore edge. In a new book, the swell is made up of two elements: the thread and the fold. A book for rebinding will also have some swell from the previous backing operation.

  • The thread used to sew the book block is the largest component of the swell. A single thread may seem too thin to cause a noticeable effect, but there are as many layers of thread as there are signatures in the book. It adds up. The thread is the only controllable element of swell. If the spine edge is too thick, a thinner thread should be considered. If it is too thin, use thicker thread.

  • The folds in the pages of a book are another contributor to swell. No matter how firmly you rub the crease with the bone folder, the paper fibres will still retain some elasticity. This is actually a good thing; if all the fibres were to fold absolutely flat, they would break more easily, and your book's pages would tear out all the time.

  • Re-bound books have an additional element of swell from the previous backing operation. The outermost signatures will be bent over, and the backs of most of the signatures will be significantly flattened and rounded. Unlike the other sources of swell, this is not a good thing, because it weakens each individual signature. As part of the tearing down process, any residual swell should be beaten out with a soft mallet.

The swell from the thread and the folding of the signatures is eliminated in the rounding stage of bookbinding.


A gentleman. A well-dressed map.
The flashman bounced the swell of all his blunt ; the girl's bully frightened the gentleman out of all his money.
swelled head

A disorder to which horses are extremely liable, particularly those of the subalterns of the army. This disorder is generally occasioned by remaining too long in one livery-stable or inn, and often arises to that height that it prevents their coming out at the stable door. The most certain cure is the unguentum aureum—not applied to the horse, but to the palm of the master of the inn or stable.
N. B. Neither this disorder, nor its remedy, is mentioned by either Bracken, Bartlet, or any of the modern writers on farriery.

The 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

Swell (?), v. i. [imp. Swelled (?); p. p. Swelled or Swollen (); p. pr. & vb. n. Swelling.] [AS. swellan; akin to D. zwellen, OS. & OHG. swellan, G. schwellen, Icel. svella, Sw. svalla.]


To grow larger; to dilate or extend the exterior surface or dimensions, by matter added within, or by expansion of the inclosed substance; as, the legs swell in dropsy; a bruised part swells; a bladder swells by inflation.


To increase in size or extent by any addition; to increase in volume or force; as, a river swells, and overflows its banks; sounds swell or diminish.


To rise or be driven into waves or billows; to heave; as, in tempest, the ocean swells into waves.


To be puffed up or bloated; as, to swell with pride.

You swell at the tartan, as the bull is said to do at scarlet. Sir W. Scott.


To be inflated; to belly; as, the sails swell.


To be turgid, bombastic, or extravagant; as, swelling words; a swelling style.


To protuberate; to bulge out; as, a cask swells in the middle.


To be elated; to rise arrogantly.

Your equal mind yet swells not into state. Dryden.


To grow upon the view; to become larger; to expand.

"Monarchs to behold the swelling scene!"



To become larger in amount; as, many little debts added, swell to a great amount.


To act in a pompous, ostentatious, or arrogant manner; to strut; to look big.

Here he comes, swelling like a turkey cock. Shak.


© Webster 1913.

Swell, v. t.


To increase the size, bulk, or dimensions of; to cause to rise, dilate, or increase; as, rains and dissolving snow swell the rivers in spring; immigration swells the population.

[The Church] swells her high, heart-cheering tone. Keble.


To aggravate; to heighten.

It is low ebb with his accuser when such peccadilloes are put to swell the charge. Atterbury.


To raise to arrogance; to puff up; to inflate; as, to be swelled with pride or haughtiness.

4. Mus.

To augment gradually in force or loudness, as the sound of a note.


© Webster 1913.

Swell, n.


The act of swelling.


Gradual increase.

Specifically: (a)

Increase or augmentation in bulk; protuberance.


Increase in height; elevation; rise.

Little River affords navigation during a swell to within three miles of the Miami. Jefferson.


Increase of force, intensity, or volume of sound.

Music arose with its voluptuous swell. Byron.


Increase of power in style, or of rhetorical force.

The swell and subsidence of his periods. Landor.


A gradual ascent, or rounded elevation, of land; as, an extensive plain abounding with little swells.


A wave, or billow; especially, a succession of large waves; the roll of the sea after a storm; as, a heavy swell sets into the harbor.

The swell Of the long waves that roll in yonder bay. Tennyson.

The gigantic swells and billows of the snow. Hawthorne.

5. Mus.

A gradual increase and decrease of the volume of sound; the crescendo and diminuendo combined; -- generally indicated by the sign.


A showy, dashing person; a dandy.


Ground swell. See under Ground. -- Organ swell Mus., a certain number of pipes inclosed in a box, the uncovering of which by means of a pedal produces increased sound. -- Swell shark Zool., a small shark (Scyllium ventricosum) of the west coast of North America, which takes in air when caught, and swells up like a swellfish.


© Webster 1913.

Swell, a.

Having the characteristics of a person of rank and importance; showy; dandified; distinguished; as, a swell person; a swell neighborhood.


Swell mob. See under Mob. [Slang]


© Webster 1913.

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