Definition for DWELL

DWELL, v.i. [pret. dwelled, usually contracted into dwelt. Dan. dvæler, to stay, wait, loiter, delay; Sw. dvala, a trance; dvälias, to delay, abide, remain or linger. Teut. dualla; Ice. duelia; Scot. duel, dwell. Qu. W. attal, dal, to hold, stop, stay, and Ir. tuilim, to sleep. This word coincides nearly with dally in its primitive signification, and may be of the same family. Its radical sense is probably to draw out in time; hence, to hold, rest, remain. We see like senses united in many words, as in teneo, τεινω, continue. See Dally and Class Dl, No. 3, 5, 6, 21.]

  1. To abide as a permanent resident, or to inhabit for a time; to live in a place; to have a habitation for some time or permanence. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem. – Gen. ix. Dwell imports a residence of some continuance. We use abide for the resting of a night or an hour; but we never say, he dwelt in a place a day or a night. Dwell may signify a residence for life or for a much shorter period, but not for a day. In Scripture, it denotes a residence of seven days during the feast of tabernacles. Ye shall dwell in booths seven days. – Lev. xxiii. The word was made flesh, and dwelt among us. – John i.
  2. To be in any state or condition; to continue. To dwell in doubtful joy. – Shak.
  3. To continue; to be fixed in attention; to hang upon with fondness. The attentive queen Dwelt on his accents. – Smith. They stand at a distance, dwelling on his looks and language, fixed in amazement. – Buckminster.
  4. To continue long; as, to dwell on a subject, in speaking, debate or writing; to dwell on a note in music. Dwell, as a verb transitive, is not used. “We who dwell this wild,” in Milton, is not a legitimate phrase.

Return to page 213 of the letter “D”.