Ditch vs. Swale - What's the difference?

Ditch

A ditch is a small to moderate depression created to channel water. A ditch can be used for drainage, to drain water from low-lying areas, alongside roadways or fields, or to channel water from a more distant source for plant irrigation. Ditches are commonly seen around farmland, especially in areas that have required drainage, such as The Fens in eastern England and much of the Netherlands. Roadside ditches may provide a hazard to motorists and cyclists, whose vehicles may crash into them and get damaged, flipped over or stuck, especially in poor weather conditions, and in rural areas.

Ditch vs. Swale

Ditch

Table of contents

1. Pronunciation
          2.1. Noun
                    2.1.1. See also
          2.2. Verb
                    2.2.1. Synonyms
          3.1. Verb
          3.2. Noun

Swale

Table of contents

1. Pronunciation
          2.1. Noun
          3.1. Noun
          3.2. Verb

Ditch

1. Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /dɪtʃ/
  • Rhymes: -ɪtʃ

2. Etymology 1

From Middle English dich, from Old English dīċ ‘trench, moat’, from Proto-Germanic *dīkaz (compare Swedish dike, Icelandic díki, West Frisian dyk ‘dam’, Dutch dijk ‘id.’, German Teich ‘pond’), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰeygʷ- ‘to stick, set up’ (compare Latin fīgō ‘to affix, fasten’, Lithuanian diegti ‘to prick; plant’, dýgsti ‘to geminate, grow’). Doublet of dike.

2.1. Noun

ditch (plural ditches)

  1. A trench; a long, shallow indentation, as for irrigation or drainage.
    Digging ditches has long been considered one of the most demanding forms of manual labor.

2.1.1. See also

  • fosse
  • moat

2.2. Verb

ditch (third-person singular simple present ditches, present participle ditching, simple past and past participle ditched)

  1. (transitive) To discard or abandon.
    Once the sun came out we ditched our rain-gear and started a campfire.
  2. (intransitive) To deliberately crash-land an airplane on water.
    When the second engine failed, the pilot was forced to ditch; their last location was just south of the Azores.
  3. (intransitive) To deliberately not attend classes; to play hookey.
    The truant officer caught Louise ditching with her friends, and her parents were forced to pay a fine.
  4. (intransitive) To dig ditches.
    Enclosure led to fuller winter employment in hedging and ditching.
  5. (transitive) To dig ditches around.
    The soldiers ditched the tent to prevent flooding.
  6. (transitive) To throw into a ditch.
    The engine was ditched and turned on its side.

2.2.1. Synonyms

  • abandon
  • discard
  • dump
  • jettison
  • lose
  • shed
  • See also Thesaurus:junk

3. Etymology 2

From earlier deche, from Middle English dechen, from Old English dēcan (to smear, plaster, daub). More at deech.

3.1. Verb

ditch (third-person singular simple present ditches, present participle ditching, simple past and past participle ditched)

  1. Alternative form of deech

3.2. Noun

ditch (usually uncountable, plural ditches)

  1. Alternative form of deech

Swale

1. Pronunciation

  • Rhymes: -eɪl

2. Etymology 1

Possibly, from Middle English, "shade", perhaps of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse svalr

2.1. Noun

swale (plural swales)

  1. A low tract of moist or marshy land.
  2. A long narrow and shallow trough between ridges on a beach, running parallel to the coastline.
  3. A shallow troughlike depression that's created to carry water during rainstorms or snow melts; a drainage ditch.
  4. A shallow, usually grassy depression sloping downward from a plains upland meadow or level vegetated ridgetop.
    • 1912, Zane Grey, Riders of the Purple Sage, Chapter 6
      Jane climbed a few more paces behind him and then peeped over the ridge. Just beyond began a shallow swale that deepened and widened into a valley, and then swung to the left.
  5. A shallow trough dug into the land on contour (horizontally with no slope). Its purpose being to allow water time to percolate into the soil.

3. Etymology 2

See sweal.

3.1. Noun

swale (plural swales)

  1. (Britain, dialectal) A gutter in a candle.

3.2. Verb

swale (third-person singular simple present swales, present participle swaling, simple past and past participle swaled)

  1. Alternative form of sweal (melt and waste away, or singe)

4. Anagrams

  • Wales, alews, lawes, sweal, wales, weals

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