- a male admirer or lover.
- a country lad.
- a country gallant.
Origin of swain
Examples from the Web for swain
After two hearings in New York last week that were at times comic, Judge Swain fashioned a compromise.Madoff's Millionaire Secretary
Allan Dodds Frank
December 20, 2010
The more costly the musical ingredients, the greater the swain's devotion!Jane Journeys On
Ruth Comfort Mitchell
A swain touched then his lute, or whatever you may call it, to his Dulcinea.The Lady and the Pirate
Her own swain was waiting for her, but not for that would she abjure the quest.Country Neighbors
He called in the university for Swain, and the two went "down town" together.Sons and Lovers
David Herbert Lawrence
Mr. Swain is an honest and an able man, though he believes in things I do not.Richard Carvel, Complete
- a male lover or admirer
- a country youth
Word Origin and History for swain
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.