Swan upping


noun British.
the taking up of young swans to mark them with nicks on the beak for identification.
an annual expedition for this purpose on the Thames.

1800–10; swan1 + upping (up + -ing1)

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World English Dictionary
1.  the practice or action of marking nicks in swans' beaks as a sign of ownership
2.  the annual swan-upping of royal cygnets on the River Thames
[C16: from up (in the archaic sense: to catch and mark a swan)]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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