The ODO has an example sentence:

I lost track trying to count the sheer bald-faced, brazen, well-swilled out-and-out lies being palmed off as fact or being suggested for our consumption as reasonable readings of the text.

It appears well-swilled should be synonymous with other adjectives in the lineup, but I can't find this word in dictionaries. Another example I found:

Our sixteenth-century forebears used adjectives such as "shameless, fat, well-swilled, stinking, papistical … ," as historian Timothy George wrote on our May 16 editorial page.

Swill means to drink, wash, rinse. But what does "well-swilled" mean here? Urban Dictionary has an entry that suggests it means "intoxicated". This definition does not appear to sufficiently fit the above sentences.

3 Answers 3


If someone swills their drink, they're sloshing it around (often in their own mouth). As gargling is to the throat, swilling is to the mouth. If a lie is "well-swilled", it's been rolled around in the liar's mouth thoroughly before being spat out on you.

  • So, what does that implies then? it's been rolled around in the liars mouth thoroughly before being spat out on you.
    – dan
    Commented Jul 28, 2018 at 13:30
  • That the liar has prepared or practiced the lie thoroughly.
    – JKreft
    Commented Jul 28, 2018 at 13:32

I would suggest that "well-swilled" implies "well prepared", "well practiced" or "well used", as in the lies have been used before and roll off the tongue easily.


In this case, I would say that well-swilled means "well-drunk."

It's being used metaphorically, and pairs with the later use of consumption.

In other words, the lies, like drink or food, have been accepted and taken as part of some people's intellectual "diets."

There is an idiom that says, don't drink the Kool-Aid. It's become popular as a way of saying that you shouldn't "blindly follow" someone or something.

It does have a serious origin, however, as described in the Mental Floss article "The 35th Anniversary of the Jonestown Massacre":

 . . . Jim Jones ordered Temple members to create a fruity mix containing a cocktail of chemicals including cyanide, diazepam (aka Valium—an anti-anxiety medication), promethazine (aka Phenergan—a sedative), chloral hydrate (a sedative/hypnotic sometimes called "knockout drops"), and most interestingly . . . Flavor Aid—a grape-flavored beverage similar to Kool-Aid.

While it might be common to associate well-swilled with beer, there could also be this Kool-Aid association, and the author is making reference to a well-drunk Kool-Aid of lies.

  • 1
    +1 I would agree, but would add that the adjective is very contrived, an attempt to be clever.
    – TimR
    Commented Jul 28, 2018 at 12:42

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