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[swawr-th ee, -thee] /ˈswɔr ði, -θi/
adjective, swarthier, swarthiest.
(of skin color, complexion, etc.) dark.
Origin of swarthy
1570-80; unexplained variant of obsolete swarty (swart + -y1)
Related forms
swarthiness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for swarthiness
Historical Examples
  • A smile split whitely the swarthiness of Tomaso's brother's face.

    Skyrider B. M. Bower
  • In the one case the swarthiness would be inheritable, in the other not.

    Applied Eugenics Paul Popenoe and Roswell Hill Johnson
  • This was that Talbot, commonly known from his swarthiness as the Crow, who was Ormonde's most trusted lieutenant.

    The Path of the King John Buchan
  • His body seemed leaner, because of the swarthiness of the skin.

    The Night-Born Jack London
  • The sharp sweet bloom of her beauty, fresh in swarthiness, under the whipping Easter, cried out against that loathed inhumanity.

  • Berenice was dark, with coloring which inclined to swarthiness; her brow was low, and her eyes small and deeply set.

    Hester's Counterpart Jean K. Baird
  • From the cheek-bones up he looked like an Indian, and expressed a stolid power and swarthiness.

    The Entailed Hat George Alfred Townsend
  • In five weeks' time all swarthiness will be removed, and pimples beside.'

    The Romance of Leonardo da Vinci Dmitry Sergeyevich Merezhkovsky
  • In singular contrast to a complexion dark almost to swarthiness, his eyes were large and of an intense steel-blue.

  • He had delicate features, redeemed from effeminacy by the swarthiness of his complexion, and his quick intensity of expression.

    North and South Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell
British Dictionary definitions for swarthiness


adjective swarthier, swarthiest
dark-hued or dark-complexioned
Derived Forms
swarthily, adverb
swarthiness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from obsolete swarty, from swart + -y1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for swarthiness



1580s, unexplained alteration of swarty (1570s), from swart + -y (2).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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