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[swoon] /swun/
verb (used without object)
to faint; lose consciousness.
to enter a state of hysterical rapture or ecstasy:
The teenagers swooned at the sight of the singing star.
a faint or fainting fit; syncope.
Origin of swoon
1250-1300; (v.) Middle English swo(w)nen to faint, orig. as gerund swowening, swoghning act of swooning, ultimately continuing Old English -swōgan (in compounds) to rush, overrun, choke; (noun) Middle English, partly derivative of the v., partly extracted from in (a) swoune, on swoune, alteration of a swoune, aswoune in a swoon, as if equivalent to a a-1 + swoon (noun), but probably continuing Old English āswōgen, past participle of āswōgan to overcome (see a-3), or geswōgen (past participle) senseless, dead
Related forms
swooningly, adverb
unswooning, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for swoon
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The figure of the judge was multiplied a thousand fold before mine eyes, and I fell into a swoon.

    The Devil's Elixir E. T. A. Hoffmann
  • All this Barnaby saw with his first clear consciousness after his swoon.

  • They should neither wilt nor swoon unless overcome by the delicacy and tenderness of my admiration.

    The Land of Thor J. Ross Browne
  • Vanished into the swoon whose blackness encompassed and hid me.

    Poems William D. Howells
  • On the stairs I fell in a swoon and lay there till some one stumbled over me in the dark and carried me in.

British Dictionary definitions for swoon


verb (intransitive)
a literary word for faint
to become ecstatic
an instance of fainting
Also (archaic or dialect) swound
Derived Forms
swooning, adjective
swooningly, adverb
Word Origin
Old English geswōgen insensible, past participle of swōgan (unattested except in compounds) to suffocate
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 swoon

c.1300, suowne, "state of unconsciousness," probably from Old English geswogen "in a faint," past participle of a lost verb *swogan, as in Old English aswogan "to choke," of uncertain origin. Cf. Low German swogen "to sigh."


c.1200, "to become unconscious," probably from a lost Old English verb *swogan (see swoon (n.)). Related: Swooned; swooning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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