[swawr-th ee, -thee]

Origin of swarthy

1570–80; unexplained variant of obsolete swarty (swart + -y1)
Related formsswarth·i·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for swarthiness

Historical Examples of swarthiness

  • In the one case the swarthiness would be inheritable, in the other not.

    Applied Eugenics

    Paul Popenoe and Roswell Hill Johnson

  • His body seemed leaner, because of the swarthiness of the skin.

    The Night-Born

    Jack London

  • A smile split whitely the swarthiness of Tomaso's brother's face.


    B. M. Bower

  • Berenice was dark, with coloring which inclined to swarthiness; her brow was low, and her eyes small and deeply set.

  • The sharp sweet bloom of her beauty, fresh in swarthiness, under the whipping Easter, cried out against that loathed inhumanity.

British Dictionary definitions for swarthiness


adjective swarthier or swarthiest
  1. dark-hued or dark-complexioned
Derived Formsswarthily, adverbswarthiness, noun

Word Origin for swarthy

C16: from obsolete swarty, from swart + -y 1
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 swarthiness



1580s, unexplained alteration of swarty (1570s), from swart + -y (2).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper