follow Dictionary.com

Get the details behind our redesign

swain

[sweyn] /sweɪn/
noun
1.
a male admirer or lover.
2.
a country lad.
3.
a country gallant.
Origin
1150
before 1150; Middle English swein servant < Old Norse sveinn boy, servant; cognate with Old English swān
Related forms
swainish, adjective
swainishness, noun
underswain, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples for swain
  • swain's team used this fortuitous orbit to study the planet's atmosphere using the star's light.
British Dictionary definitions for swain

swain

/sweɪn/
noun (archaic or poetic)
1.
a male lover or admirer
2.
a country youth
Derived Forms
swainish, adjective
Word Origin
Old English swān swineherd; related to Old High German swein, Old Norse sveinn boy; see swine
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for swain
swain
c.1150, "young man attendant upon a knight," from O.N. sveinn "boy, servant, attendant," from P.Gmc. *swainaz "attendant, servant," prop. one's own (man), from PIE *swoi-no-, from base *swe- "oneself, alone, apart" (see idiom). Cognate with O.E. swan "shepherd, swineherd," O.S. swen, O.H.G. swein. Meaning "country or farm laborer" is from 1579; that of "lover, wooer" (in pastoral poetry) is from 1585.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of The Day

Difficulty index for swain

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for swain

8
9
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with swain