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swish

[swish] /swɪʃ/
verb (used without object)
1.
to move with or make a sibilant sound, as a slender rod cutting sharply through the air or as small waves washing on the shore.
2.
to rustle, as silk.
3.
to move or behave in an exaggeratedly effeminate manner.
verb (used with object)
4.
to flourish, whisk, etc., with a swishing movement or sound:
to swish a cane.
5.
to bring, take, cut, etc., with such a movement or sound:
to swish off the tops of plants with a cane.
6.
to flog or whip.
noun
7.
a swishing movement or sound.
8.
a stock or rod for flogging or a stroke with this.
9.
Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive. a contemptuous term used to refer to an effeminate male homosexual.
adjective
10.
Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive. swishy (def 2).
11.
Chiefly British Informal. stylishly elegant; fashionable.
Origin of swish
1750-1760
1750-60; imitative
Related forms
swisher, noun
swishingly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for swish
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Twenty minutes passed, and then he too heard a footfall in the passage outside, and the swish of a dress.

    The Coryston Family Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • The silence, save for the swish of the paddles, was brooding and full of menace.

    The Eyes of the Woods Joseph A. Altsheler
  • Never had the swish of a woman's skirt sounded so sweet to her before.

    Mr. Grex of Monte Carlo E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • swish, swish, swish—they could hear the sound of the skates on the ice.

    Shawn of Skarrow James Tandy Ellis
  • The swish of a skirt seemed ridiculously loud in the hush, and the scratching of the judge's quill pen was noisily irritating.

British Dictionary definitions for swish

swish

/swɪʃ/
verb
1.
to move with or make or cause to move with or make a whistling or hissing sound
2.
(intransitive) (esp of fabrics) to rustle
3.
(transitive) (slang, rare) to whip; flog
4.
(transitive) foll by off. to cut with a swishing blow
noun
5.
a hissing or rustling sound or movement
6.
a rod for flogging or a blow from such a rod
7.
(US, slang) an effeminate male homosexual
8.
a W African building material composed of mortar and mud or laterite, or more recently of cement and earth
adjective
9.
(informal, mainly Brit) fashionable; smart
10.
(US, slang) effeminate and homosexual
Derived Forms
swisher, noun
swishing, adjective
swishingly, adverb
Word Origin
C18: of imitative origin
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 swish
v.

1756, probably imitative of the sound made by something brushing against or through something. Related: Swished; swishing.

n.

1820, from swish (v.); sense of "effeminate homosexual" is 1930s in homosexual slang, probably from notion of mincing motion.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for swish

swish 1

adjective

Showing the traits of an effeminate male homosexual; mincing; limp-wristed, nellie: His walk was quite swish (1930s+ Homosexuals)

noun

  1. An effeminate male homosexual; queen: that fat swish
  2. Elaborate decoration: place needs more swish

verb

To move, walk, speak, etc, in the manner or presumed manner of effeminate male homosexuals (fr homosexuals)

[perhaps fr the swinging movements of the hips in a mincing walk; perhaps fr swish2]

swish 2

adjective

Elegant; fancy; posh, ritzy, swank: You can get a very swish version or a very asi version

[1879+;frBritishdialect,anapparentvariantofswash, ''a swaggerer,'' hence semantically related to swank]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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