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[swawr-th ee, -thee] /ˈswɔr ði, -θi/
adjective, swarthier, swarthiest.
(of skin color, complexion, etc.) dark.
Origin of swarthy
1570-80; unexplained variant of obsolete swarty (swart + -y1)
Related forms
swarthiness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for swarthy
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The general of the army was a swarthy man—I wish that I could remember his name, but I cannot.

    Ayesha H. Rider Haggard
  • The swarthy gentleman continued his study of the patient's pulse.

    Captain Blood Rafael Sabatini
  • Does the former owe his inferior intellect to his swarthy complexion and flattened nose?

  • He was smiling into her eyes, his swarthy face close to her own.

    The Sea-Hawk Raphael Sabatini
  • The corpulent and swarthy Hicks stood dejectedly before her.

  • “Fight or hit the road,” John Slaughter bade his swarthy aide.

    When the West Was Young Frederick R. Bechdolt
  • The typical countenance about me was of the dark, swarthy Latin south, and tall men were rarely met.

    On the Mexican Highlands William Seymour Edwards
British Dictionary definitions for swarthy


adjective swarthier, swarthiest
dark-hued or dark-complexioned
Derived Forms
swarthily, adverb
swarthiness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from obsolete swarty, from swart + -y1
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 swarthy

1580s, unexplained alteration of swarty (1570s), from swart + -y (2).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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