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Webster 1913 Edition


Swan

Swan

(swŏn)
,
Noun.
[AS.
swan
; akin to D.
zwaan
, OHG.
swan
, G.
schwan
, Icel.
svanr
, Sw.
svan
, Dan.
svane
; and perhaps to E.
sound
something audible.]
1.
(Zool.)
Any one of numerous species of large aquatic birds belonging to
Cygnus
,
Olor
, and allied genera of the subfamily
Cygninae
. They have a large and strong beak and a long neck, and are noted for their graceful movements when swimming. Most of the northern species are white. In literature the swan was fabled to sing a melodious song, especially at the time of its death.
☞ The European white, or mute, swan (
Cygnus gibbus
), which is most commonly domesticated, bends its neck in an S-shaped curve. The whistling, or trumpeting, swans of the genus
Olor
do not bend the neck in an S-shaped curve, and are noted for their loud and sonorous cry, due to complex convolutions of the windpipe. To this genus belong the European whooper, or whistling swan (
Olor cygnus
), the American whistling swan (
Olor Columbianus
), and the trumpeter swan (
Olor buccinator
). The Australian black swan (
Chenopis atrata
) is dull black with white on the wings, and has the bill carmine, crossed with a white band. It is a very graceful species and is often domesticated. The South American black-necked swan (
Sthenelides melancorypha
) is a very beautiful and graceful species, entirely white, except the head and neck, which are dark velvety seal-brown. Its bill has a double bright rose-colored knob.
2.
Fig.: An appellation for a sweet singer, or a poet noted for grace and melody;
as Shakespeare is called the
swan
of Avon
.
3.
(Astron.)
The constellation Cygnus.
Swan goose
(Zool.)
,
a bird of India (
Cygnopsis cygnoides
) resembling both the swan and the goose.
Swan shot
,
a large size of shot used in fowling.

Webster 1828 Edition


Swan

SWAN

,
Noun.
A large aquatic fowl of the genus Anas, of two varieties, the wild and the tame. The plumage is of a pure white color, and its long arching neck gives it a noble appearance.

Definition 2021


Swan

Swan

See also: swan

English

Noun

Swan (plural Swans)

  1. (soccer) someone connected with Swansea City Football Club, as a fan, player, coach, etc.
    • 2013, Delme Parfitt in Wales Online, Cardiff City 1 - 0 Swansea City: Steven Caulker heads Bluebirds to South Wales derby win (3 November 2013)
      The Swans will doubtless recover, but they will head home this evening knowing that they didn't do themselves justice in a game that means so much to supporters.
  2. (Australian rules football) someone connected with the Sydney Swans, as a fan, player, coach, etc.

Proper noun

Swan

  1. A surname.

Anagrams

swan

swan

See also: Swan

English

A swan.

Noun

swan (plural swans or swan)

  1. Any of various species of large, long-necked waterfowl, of genus Cygnus, most of which have white plumage.
  2. (figuratively) One whose grace etc. suggests a swan.
Derived terms
Translations
See also

Verb

swan (third-person singular simple present swans, present participle swanning, simple past and past participle swanned)

  1. (Britain, intransitive) To travel or move about in an aimless, idle, or pretentiously casual way.
    • 2010, Lee Rourke, The Canal, Melville House Publishing (2010), ISBN 9781935554905, unnumbered page:
      He swans around that stinking office in his expensive clothes that are a little too tight for comfort, he swans around that stinking office without a care in the world.
    • 2013, Tilly Bagshawe, One Summer’s Afternoon, HarperCollins (2013), ISBN 9780007472550, unnumbered page:
      One of the few strokes of good luck Emma had had in recent days was the news that Tatiana Flint-Hamilton, her only real rival for top billing as 'most photographable girl' at today's event had decided to swan off to Sardinia instead, leaving the limelight entirely to Emma.
Usage notes
  • In the sense “to travel”, usually used as part of the phrase “to swan about” or “to swan around”.

Etymology 2

Probably from dialectal I s’wan, contraction of “I shall warrant”; later seen as a minced form of I swear.

Alternative forms

Verb

swan (third-person singular simple present swans, present participle swanning, simple past and past participle swanned)

  1. (US, dialectal or colloquial) To declare (chiefly in first-person present constructions).
    • 1907 December, J. D. Archer, Foiling an eavesdropper, in Telephony, volume 14, page 345:
      "Well, I swan, man, I had a better opinion of you than that."
    • 1940, Raymond Chandler, Farewell, My Lovely, Penguin 2010, page 214:
      ‘She slammed the door so hard I figured a window'd break [] .’ ‘I swan,’ I said.

Anagrams


Old English

Etymology 1

From Proto-Germanic *swanaz, probably from Proto-Indo-European *swen- (to sound, resound). Compare Old Saxon swan (Low German Swaan), Dutch zwaan, Old High German swan (German Schwan), Old Norse svanr (Swedish svan).

Noun

swan m

  1. swan
Descendants

Etymology 2

From Proto-Germanic *swainiz, whence also Old High German swein, Old Norse sveinn, English swain (through Old Norse).

Noun

swān m

  1. lad

West Frisian

Etymology

From Old Frisian *swan, from Proto-Germanic *swanaz (swan), probably from Proto-Indo-European *swen- (to sound, resound). Compare English swan, Dutch zwaan, Low German Swaan, German Schwan, Swedish svan.

Noun

swan c

  1. swan