Swol, or alternatively spelled Swole or Swoll is a slang way of writing “swollen” used especially for someone, who had amassed a great amount of body muscle, due to weightlifting and a strict diet, as well as pure determination.
It may also refer to the swollen muscles of someone after an intense gym workout, highlighting their exceptional appearance.
Online, the term is usually used as the caption of memes, depciting an Absolute Unit of a specimen.
The first online instance of the term comes from a 1998 Online Slang Dictionary article, in which the word “Swole” was defined as a synonym for “muscular”.
The term “Swol” had even appeared in a posthumous 2Pac song, titled “When I Get Free”, although at that time he likely did not write it in the same sense as the internet meme.
In the song, the rapper is spraying a line “did pushups till I swole up” telling about his road to bulking.
In 2002, the first Urban Dictionary entry had defined the term, further spreading the word on the web.
During the early 2000’s swole had been mainly seen on bodybuilding forums, but in 2006, a music video had been uploaded to YouTube, by skaterfrek09, with the title “swole guy”.
The video features the bodybuilding hero and ex-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in various edited clips, along with some up tempo electronic music.
Following this, the meme community online had started to adopt the phrase, leading to it appearing on all kinds of sites, from Reddit, 4chan and 9GAG, to Twitter and Facebook.
“Swol” spawned countless photoshop edits and ironic memes in the 2010’s, although its popularity waned heavily since then.
Today, the “Swol” meme may be encountered on YouTube as well as Reddit subs related to working out.
- Online Slang Dictionary – What does swoll mean?