[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

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