- the taking up of young swans to mark them with nicks on the beak for identification.
- an annual expedition for this purpose on the Thames.
Origin of swan-upping
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for swan-upping
This is called "swan-upping," and a good time it used to be.
The young cygnets were marked at the annual festival of “swan-upping,” at which the City magnates used hugely to enjoy themselves.The Great North Road: London to York
Charles G. Harper
The time-honoured brutality of swan-upping is now mitigated by law, its cruelty being obvious.The Naturalist on the Thames
C. J. Cornish
- the practice or action of marking nicks in swans' beaks as a sign of ownership
- the annual swan-upping of royal cygnets on the River Thames
C16: from up (in the archaic sense: to catch and mark a swan)