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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for swarthy
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Herkimer's tanned and swarthy face changed color at this taunt.

    In the Valley Harold Frederic
  • The swarthy gentleman continued his study of the patient's pulse.

    Captain Blood Rafael Sabatini
  • The corpulent and swarthy Hicks stood dejectedly before her.

  • He was very fat, with a shaven, swarthy face and the dewlap of an ox.

    The Strolling Saint Raphael Sabatini
  • He was smiling into her eyes, his swarthy face close to her own.

    The Sea-Hawk Raphael Sabatini
  • swarthy, unclad children were as numerous and active as young chickens.

    Aztec Land Maturin M. Ballou
  • “Fight or hit the road,” John Slaughter bade his swarthy aide.

    When the West Was Young Frederick R. Bechdolt
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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