swan, sir

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
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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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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