1. excellent, wonderful, delightful; thus swell article n., anything of high quality; swell crib n., a genteel house; also ironic use.
2. pertaining to the upper classes.
3. showy, ostentatious, fashionable, usu. as regards dress; also as adv., fashionably; thus swell mollisher, a very well-dressed woman etc.
a gentleman, a dandy.
[late 19C] a lower-class woman affecting airs of grandeur.
[mid-19C] a smart carriage.
[mid-19C] a street-seller of needles.
see separate entry.
[late 19C] an élite prostitute; a woman kept by a rich lover.