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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
  • He is a figure of medium height, dark-haired, swarthy.
  • But as taboo feelings of desire swell between the swarthy new lovers, their relationship is discovered.
  • Here his swarthy baritone is prodigious in scale and implausibly pliable.
  • The shining knight had died, and now the swarthy villain carried off his noble lady.
  • swarthy skin always looks better in colors that have red or yellow in them.
  • Her swarthy skin was stretched tight across her jaw bones and looked thick and leathery.
  • He is of swarthy complexion, wears a small til-own mustache and has brown hair tinged with gray.
  • He was not well proportioned but had clear, swarthy skin and a thick nose with brown hair.
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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