definitions
  • synonyms

swain

[ sweyn ]
/ sweɪn /
|
SEE MORE SYNONYMS FOR swain ON THESAURUS.COM

noun

a male admirer or lover.
a country lad.
a country gallant.

RELATED WORDS

sweetheart, squire, love, suitor, paramour, admirer, steady, honey, escort, flame, beloved, lover, cavalier, inamorato, wooer

Nearby words

swaggering, swaggeringly, swaggie, swagman, swahili, swain, swainson's hawk, swainson's thrush, swak, swakara, swale

Origin of swain

before 1150; Middle English swein servant < Old Norse sveinn boy, servant; cognate with Old English swān
Related formsswain·ish, adjectiveswain·ish·ness, nounun·der·swain, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for swain

British Dictionary definitions for swain

swain

/ (sweɪn) /

noun archaic, or poetic

a male lover or admirer
a country youth
Derived Formsswainish, adjective

Word Origin for swain

Old English swān swineherd; related to Old High German swein, Old Norse sveinn boy; see swine
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

Word Origin and History for swain

swain


n.

mid-12c., "young man attendant upon a knight," from Old Norse sveinn "boy, servant, attendant," from Proto-Germanic *swainaz "attendant, servant," properly "one's own (man)," from PIE *swoi-no-, from root *swe- "oneself, alone, apart" (see idiom). Cognate with Old English swan "shepherd, swineherd," Old Saxon swen, Old High German swein. Meaning "country or farm laborer" is from 1570s; that of "lover, wooer" (in pastoral poetry) is from 1580s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper