Meaning of swale in English:


Pronunciation /sweɪl/


  • A low or hollow place, especially a marshy depression between ridges.

    ‘At the locality in question, cast-dipping beds of the Middle Permian Park City and Phosphoria Formations form a succession of low ridges and intervening swales.’
    • ‘Landscaping involved land leveling by lowering ridges and filling swales and was undertaken in connection with the construction of plazas and other special-use areas within most Mississippian centers.’
    • ‘The orchids occurred in wet marshy swales and in open margins of wet shrubby thickets and ponds.’
    • ‘In the New World, it generally occurs in wet habitats that have been recently disturbed, such as rice or other agricultural fields, river flood plains, drainage ditches, roadside ditches and swales, and wetland mitigation ponds.’
    • ‘The undisturbed forest was criss-crossed by natural swales that drained runoff to a wetland in the valley north of the site.’
    • ‘Instead of installing an expensive storm water system of pipes and treatment plants, rainwater will be channeled into plant-filed swales that will slowly clean the runoff before depositing it into the Rouge River.’
    • ‘Open halophyte grassland typically occurs in swales and is characterized by H. mutica and Sporobolus airoides; other grasses, such as B. gracilis and Pnnicum obtusum, are also present.’
    • ‘The average altitude of birds flying within 2 km east and west of the project area was 209 m in autumn and 388 m in spring with more birds passing over valleys and swales than high points.’
    • ‘The common areas contain an innovative natural drainage system, a network of creek beds, swales, and pond areas that allow rainwater to be absorbed into the ground rather than carried away through storm drains.’
    • ‘Stormwater harvesting methods including swales (earth contour banks), underground Atlantis soakage tanks and mulch supplied by Indigenous Landscapes.’
    • ‘The two sites were selected to most closely match known pondberry habitat, i.e. in low swales that seasonally hold water, under a closed canopy forest.’
    • ‘Permeable surfaced parking areas and engineered swales will force runoff through plant-based filtration to remove contaminants.’
    • ‘The highway dips and weaves as it follows the contours of the terrace; the motorcyclist disappears in the swales only to reappear again as he crests a rise.’
    • ‘In New York, it grows around coastal brackish ponds and interdunal swales on Long Island and around inland salt ponds in the Finger Lakes region.’
    • ‘If you choose this as your option, then swales, culverts, and drain fields may need to be figured into your plans.’
    • ‘Eagle Ridge is a muscular course, with bulging mounds and sinewy swales framing the targets at every turn.’
    • ‘First, arrange your soil to form berms and swales to better retain water.’
    • ‘Throw in the cavernous swales and contouring on and around the large greens and you appreciate that this is a truly challenging test.’
    • ‘We hypothesized that the abundance of adult trees would be lower in the grass-dominated swales.’
    • ‘The habitat for Melanthium is wet-mesic prairie located in swales or along streams.’


Early 16th century of unknown origin; probably taken to America from eastern England, where it is still in use.