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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.
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British Dictionary definitions for swains

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
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Word Origin and History for swains

swain

n.

mid-12c., "young man attendant upon a knight," from Old Norse sveinn "boy, servant, attendant," from Proto-Germanic *swainaz "attendant, servant," properly "one's own (man)," from PIE *swoi-no-, from root *swe- "oneself, alone, apart" (see idiom). Cognate with Old English swan "shepherd, swineherd," Old Saxon swen, Old High German swein. Meaning "country or farm laborer" is from 1570s; that of "lover, wooer" (in pastoral poetry) is from 1580s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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