[swawr-th ee, -thee]

adjective, swarth·i·er, swarth·i·est.

(of skin color, complexion, etc.) dark.

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. 2019

Related Words for swarthy

black, brown, dark, dusky, tan, tawny, brunet, darkish, swart

Examples from the Web for swarthy

Contemporary Examples of swarthy

Historical Examples of swarthy

  • 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

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 swarthy

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper