1 [swon]
any of several large, stately aquatic birds of the subfamily Anserinae, having a long, slender neck and usually pure-white plumage in the adult. Compare mute swan, trumpeter swan, whistling swan, whooper swan.
a person or thing of unusual beauty, excellence, purity, or the like.
Literary. a person who sings sweetly or a poet.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Cygnus.

before 900; Middle English, Old English; cognate with German Schwan, Old Norse svanr

swanlike, adjective
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2 [swon]
verb (used without object)
Midland and Southern U.S. Older Use. to swear or declare (used with I ): Well, I swan, I never expected to see you here!

1775–85, Americanism; probably continuing dial. (N England) I s'wan, shortening of I shall warrant


Sir Joseph Wilson, 1828–1914, British chemist, electrical engineer, and inventor.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
swan (swɒn)
1.  any large aquatic bird of the genera Cygnus and Coscoroba, having a long neck and usually a white plumage: family Anatidae, order Anseriformes
2.  rare, literary
 a.  a poet
 b.  (capital when part of a title or epithet): the Swan of Avon (Shakespeare)
vb , swans, swanning, swanned
3.  informal (intr; usually foll by around or about) to wander idly
[Old English; related to Old Norse svanr, Middle Low German swōn]

Swan1 (swɒn)
a river in SW Western Australia, rising as the Avon northeast of Narrogin and flowing northwest and west to the Indian Ocean below Perth. Length: about 240 km (150 miles)

Swan2 (swɒn)
Sir Joseph Wilson. 1828--1914, English physicist and chemist, who developed the incandescent electric light (1880) independently of Edison

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

O.E. swan, from P.Gmc. *swanaz (cf. O.S. swan, O.N. svanr, M.Du. swane, Du. zwaan, O.H.G. swan, Ger. Schwan), probably lit. "the singing bird," from PIE base *swon-/*swen- "to sing, make sound" (see sound (n.1)); thus related to O.E. geswin "melody, song" and swinsian "to
make melody." In classical mythology, sacred to Apollo and to Venus. The singing of swans before death was alluded to by Chaucer (late 14c.), but swan-song (1831) is a translation of Ger. Schwanengesang. A black swan was proverbial for "something extremely rare or non-existent" (late 14c.), after Juvenal ["Sat." vi. 164]. Swan dive is recorded from 1898.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Bible Dictionary

Swan definition

mentioned in the list of unclean birds (Lev. 11:18; Deut. 14:16), is sometimes met with in the Jordan and the Sea of Galilee.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Example sentences for swan
There is a swan boat circuit where the villages field teams compete.
Some postrenaissance writers liked to affect the sobriquet the swan of mantua.
This allows the species to be very successful in the swan, and other rivers.
The swan brewery continues to produce a range of emu branded beers.
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