The Meaning of Dwell: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of dwell? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word dwell, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word dwell mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary and the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, the word dwell is a verb that means to wait at a particular point or in a given condition, or in a particular place or specified state/given state. This is usually not for a brief time or brief pause, but it can be. Different suffixes can be added to the end of the word dwell to make different parts of speech and tenses such as past participles, present participle, past tense, or the noun dweller which would refer to a permanent resident or dwelling which refers to a place of residence.

The word dwell can also refer to a regular pause for a period in a cycle in the operation of a machine or engine during which a given machine part remains motionless and the motion of part of a mechanism stops at a certain angle, as well as a flat or cylindrical area on a cam for maintaining a follower in a certain position during part of a cycle, according to Dictionary. It is also a kind of fish and a moving tool, as well as a flat , cylindrical area, or constant-radius portion that exists on a linear or rotary cam which enables the given part of the cam follower to remain static for a brief period of time and a planned delay. This could also be used in electric engineering to describe a timed control program in which there is a period of time in which the ignition points are closed to let current flow through the ignition coil in between each spark, which is measured in degrees around the camshaft in the distributor which controls the ignition points, such as in a 4-cylinder engine. These metrics give the distributor certain information on how long the component remains in interaction with the ignition points in the petrol engine, per Your Dictionary.

Many different languages also contain words that mean dwell. You may notice that some of these different words look and sound similar to one another. These are called cognates, which are formed when two words have the same root or language of origin. The below list of translations of the word dwell is provided by Word Sense.

  •  Walloon: dimorer‎, dimani‎, lodjî‎
  •  Mandarin: 居住‎ (jūzhù), 住‎ (zhù), 居留‎ (jūliú)
  •  Portuguese: habitar‎, morar‎, (Brazil) viver‎
  •  Bulgarian: живе́я‎ (impf), обита́вам‎ (impf)
  •  Czech: bydlet‎
  •  Polish: mieszkać‎, zamieszkiwać‎
  •  Serbo-Croatian: boraviti‎ (impf)
  •  Scottish Gaelic: còmhnaich‎
  •  Russian: прожива́ть‎ (impf), жить‎ (impf), обита́ть‎ (impf)
  •  Belarusian: пражыва́ць‎ (impf), пражываць‎
  •  Korean: 살다‎, 거주하다‎
  •  Latvian: mist‎, dzīvot‎
  •  Italian: abitare‎, dimorare‎
  •  German: leben‎, verbleiben‎, wohnen‎
  •  Dutch: rondhangen‎, verblijven‎
  •  Esperanto: loĝi‎
  •  Yiddish: וווינען‎
  •  Slovene: bivati‎
  •  Turkish: oturmak‎, ikamet etmek‎, eğleşmek‎, kalmak‎
  •  Danish: leve‎, forblive‎, bebo‎, bo‎
  •  Ancient Greek: ναίω‎
  •  Indonesian: tinggal‎, diam‎, diam‎
  •  Irish: cónaigh‎, bheith i do cónaí‎
  •  Japanese: 住む‎ (sumu), 居住‎
  •  Telugu: నివసించు‎
  •  Hungarian: lakik‎
  •  Romanian: trăi‎
  •  Khmer: នៅ‎, រស់នៅ‎
  •  French: résider‎
  •  Spanish: habitar‎, morar‎
  •  Swedish: bo‎, leva‎
  •  Finnish: asua‎, oleskella‎, asustaa‎
  •  Old English: būan‎
  •  Maori: noho‎
  •  Moroccan Arabic: سْكن‎ (skən)
  •  Ukrainian: ме́шкати‎ (impf), жи́ти‎ (impf), прожива́ти‎ (impf)

What is the origin of the word dwell?

According to Etymonline, the word dwell comes from the Old English dwellan and Middle English dwellen. These have roots in the Old Norse dvelja, Old Saxon dwel and other Proto-Germanic roots.

How can the word dwell be used in a sentence?

Dwell can be used in many different ways in many different sentences. Using words in a sentence is a great way to memorize their definitions. You can also try making flashcards or quizzes to test your knowledge. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today – below are several examples of dwell to get you started. 

The social injustices caused the poor man to dwell in poverty for his whole life.

The deer dwell in the forest behind my house.

Old things find habitation and dwell at the bottom of the ocean. 

I tend to dwell on strange notions.

What are synonyms and antonyms of dwell?

There are many different words that have the same meaning as the word dwell. These are called synonyms, which can be used interchangeably with the word dwell and are useful to know if you are trying to avoid repeating yourself or simply expand your vocabulary. This list of synonyms of dwell is provided by Power Thesaurus.

  •  neighbour
  •  humble cottage
  •  stick around
  •  domicile
  •  lying
  •  stay
  •  roost
  •  squat
  •  house
  •  brooding
  •  shack
  •  nest
  •  be domiciled
  •  last
  •  living
  •  hang out
  •  linger
  •  live in
  •  rest
  •  continue
  •  harp
  •  consist
  •  inhabit
  •  endure
  •  locate
  •  bide
  •  tent
  •  stun
  •  remain
  •  be settled
  •  reside
  •  room
  •  stick
  •  settle
  •  tarry
  •  lodge
  •  roomed
  •  inhabited
  •  persist
  •  stop
  •  sojourn
  •  tenant
  •  abide
  •  inhabiting
  •  live
  •  lie
  •  be housed
  •  exist
  •  occupy
  •  stay with
  •  lodger
  •  board
  •  subsist
  •  inhere
  •  populate
  •  brood
  •  lie in

There are also many different words that mean the opposite of the word dwell. These are called antonyms, which are also useful to know if you’re trying to expand your vocabulary. This list of antonyms of dwell is also provided by Power Thesaurus. 

  •  migrate
  •  look away
  •  book
  •  dismiss
  •  take a step
  •  take a walk
  •  take off
  •  desolate
  •  overlook
  •  move
  •  breathe last
  •  do a lord lucan
  •  breathe one’s last breath
  •  come
  •  ignore
  •  proceed
  •  part
  •  clamber
  •  bail
  •  jump the track
  •  fly
  •  get
  •  bail out
  •  seem
  •  depart
  •  discard
  •  buzz
  •  change rapidly
  •  bite the dust
  •  neglect
  •  draw last breath
  •  breathe one’s last
  •  pop one’s clogs
  •  journey
  •  commit suicide
  •  buy the farm
  •  leave
  •  teleport
  •  lose your life
  •  disregard
  •  adumbrate
  •  last
  •  abscond
  •  travel
  •  draw one’s last breath
  •  run
  •  breathe last breath
  •  cross the great divide
  •  pay someone a visit
  •  slip out of position

Overall, the word dwell means to reside or stay at. This word can be used literally or figuratively. 


  1. Dwell | Definition of Dwell | 
  2. Dwell Meaning | Best 13 Definitions of Dwell | Your Dictionary 
  3. dwell: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  4. Dwell synonyms – 875 Words and Phrases for Dwell | Power Thesaurus 
  5. Dwell antonyms – 280 Opposites of Dwell | Power Thesaurus 
  6. dwell | Origin and meaning of dwell | Online Etymology Dictionary