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13 Essential Literary Terms

swarm1

[swawrm] /swɔrm/
noun
1.
a body of honeybees that emigrate from a hive and fly off together, accompanied by a queen, to start a new colony.
2.
a body of bees settled together, as in a hive.
3.
a great number of things or persons, especially in motion.
4.
Biology. a group or aggregation of free-floating or free-swimming cells or organisms.
5.
Geology. a cluster of earthquakes or other geologic phenomena or features.
verb (used without object)
6.
to fly off together in a swarm, as bees.
7.
to move about, along, forth, etc., in great numbers, as things or persons.
8.
to congregate, hover, or occur in groups or multitudes; be exceedingly numerous, as in a place or area.
9.
(of a place) to be thronged or overrun; abound or teem:
The beach swarms with children on summer weekends.
10.
Biology. to move or swim about in a swarm.
verb (used with object)
11.
to swarm about, over, or in; throng; overrun.
12.
to produce a swarm of.
Origin
900
before 900; (noun) Middle English; Old English swearm; cognate with German Schwarm swarm, Old Norse svarmr tumult; (v.) Middle English swarmen, derivative of the noun
Related forms
swarmer, noun
Synonyms
3. horde, host, mass. See crowd1 .

swarm2

[swawrm] /swɔrm/
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
1.
to climb by clasping with the legs and hands or arms and drawing oneself up; shin.
Origin
1540-50; origin uncertain
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for swarm
  • For a crystal to turn to liquid, it seems that a type of swarm intelligence causes atoms to move all at once and in sync.
  • They are a swarm of quick-moving and plotting groups who win by disruption.
  • Unfortunately, it is impossible to tag more than a few individuals in a herd, flock or swarm.
  • swarm theory holds that you move fast and don't worry about securing the rear.
  • The blue orchards rarely sting and, because of their solitary nature, do not swarm.
  • Mosquitoes swarm at night, and nobody has come to spray with insecticide.
  • They also randomly swarm and try to overwhelm online sites and forums they consider annoying.
  • In fact, the swarm of private-equity firms is doing the economy some good.
  • See what happens when this swarm pushes the lake to the breaking point.
  • Bees could be trained, through altered feeding habits, to swarm a vehicle packed with dynamite.
British Dictionary definitions for swarm

swarm1

/swɔːm/
noun
1.
a group of social insects, esp bees led by a queen, that has left the parent hive in order to start a new colony
2.
a large mass of small animals, esp insects
3.
a throng or mass, esp when moving or in turmoil
verb
4.
(intransitive) (of small animals, esp bees) to move in or form a swarm
5.
(intransitive) to congregate, move about or proceed in large numbers
6.
when intr, often foll by with. to overrun or be overrun (with): the house swarmed with rats
7.
(transitive) to cause to swarm
Word Origin
Old English swearm; related to Old Norse svarmr uproar, Old High German swaram swarm

swarm2

/swɔːm/
verb
1.
when intr, usually foll by up. to climb (a ladder, etc) by gripping with the hands and feet: the boys swarmed up the rigging
Word Origin
C16: of unknown origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for swarm
n.

"cloud of bees or other insects," Old English swearm, from Proto-Germanic *swarmaz (cf. Old Saxon, Middle Low German swarm, Swedish svärm, Middle Dutch swerm, Old High German swarm, German Schwarm "swarm;" Old Norse svarmr "tumult"), usually derived from PIE imitative root *swer- (2) "to buzz, whisper" (see susurration) on notion of humming sound. But OED suggests possible connection with base of swerve and ground sense of "agitated, confused, or deflected motion."

v.

"to climb by clasping with the arms and legs alternately," 1540s, perhaps originally a sailors' word, of uncertain origin. Also recorded as swarve (16c.) and in Northern dialects swarble, swarmle.

"to leave a hive to start another," late 14c., from swarm (n.). Related: Swarmed; swarming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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