• synonyms


[swawr-th ee, -thee]
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adjective, swarth·i·er, swarth·i·est.
  1. (of skin color, complexion, etc.) dark.
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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

Related Words


Examples from the Web for swarthy

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Herkimer's tanned and swarthy face changed color at this taunt.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • The swarthy gentleman continued his study of the patient's pulse.

    Captain Blood

    Rafael Sabatini

  • The corpulent and swarthy Hicks stood dejectedly before her.

  • He was very fat, with a shaven, swarthy face and the dewlap of an ox.

    The Strolling Saint

    Raphael Sabatini

  • He was smiling into her eyes, his swarthy face close to her own.

    The Sea-Hawk

    Raphael Sabatini

British Dictionary definitions for swarthy


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

Word Origin

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 swarthy


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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper