Rose in an exuberant swell

The audience applause, which was enthusiastic at each Naming, rose in an exuberant swell when one parental pair, glowing with pride, took a male newchild and heard him named Caleb.

I can understand the literal translation but can anybody explain me the metaphorical meaning? That's because I'm not sure if I understood it in the right way.
 
  • cyberpedant

    Senior Member
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    "The audience applause rose in an exuberant swell" does not seem to me metaphorical at all.
    It straightforwardly describes the fact that the sound volume increased to a great extent, showing the exuberance [great happiness] of the audience.

    Welcome to the forum, Anniie126.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    'Rose' means "increased" when it refers to sounds. The 'swell' here is what the sea does when it rises high without breaking. So both words are talking about the applause increasing in intensity: the 'swell' indicates it wasn't a sudden outburst, but a continuous rising.
     

    Imber Ranae

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    The verb "rise" is commonly used in English to describe a sound increasing in volume or pitch. A swell may mean any strong, continuous increase, and it's related to the adjective "swollen". Most vividly it refers to a large unbroken wave in a body of water, which rises much like the volume of applause might. "Exuberant" is almost a transferred epithet: while grammatically it agrees with "swell", it most obviously describes the enthusiasm of the audience itself.
     
    The verb "rise" is commonly used in English to describe a sound increasing in volume or pitch. A swell may mean any strong, continuous increase, and it's related to the adjective "swollen". Most vividly it refers to a large unbroken wave in a body of water, which rises much like the volume of applause might. "Exuberant" is almost a transferred epithet: while grammatically it agrees with "swell", it most obviously describes the enthusiasm of the audience itself.
    Thanks! I've never had an idea to connect swell and swollen. Another new information!
     

    Imber Ranae

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Thanks! I've never had an idea to connect swell and swollen. Another new information!
    The adjective "swollen" is actually the original past participle of the verb "to swell". Nowadays both "swelled" and "swollen" may be used, but only "swollen" is used as an adjective, e.g. "His arm is swollen [not swelled] from the bee sting," but "His arm has swelled [or swollen] up greatly since he got stung."
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    'Rose' means "increased" when it refers to sounds.
    Wrong. It can equally well mean "became higher in pitch". With applause, only increasing loudness makes sense, but 'his voice rose' is ambiguous as to whether it was becoming louder or changing to higher pitch.
     
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