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1. A low tract of land, especially when moist or marshy.
2. A long, narrow, usually shallow trough between ridges on a beach, running parallel to the coastline.
3. A shallow troughlike depression that carries water mainly during rainstorms or snow melts.
[Perhaps from Middle English, shade, perhaps of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse svalr, cool.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
(Physical Geography) chiefly
a. a moist depression in a tract of land, usually with rank vegetation
b. (as modifier): swell and swale topography.
[C16: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Old Norse svala to chill]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
n. Chiefly Northeastern U.S.
a low place in a tract of land, usu. producing ranker vegetation than the adjacent higher ground.
[1575–85; perhaps identical with dial. swale shade]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
Swaletimber planking, 1597.
Dictionary of Collective Nouns and Group Terms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.