• synonyms


[swing-guh l]
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  1. a swipple.
  2. a wooden instrument shaped like a large knife, for beating flax or hemp and scraping from it the woody or coarse portions.
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verb (used with object), swin·gled, swin·gling.
  1. to clean (flax or hemp) by beating and scraping with a swingle.
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Origin of swingle1

1275–1325; Middle English swingel, Old English swingell rod (cognate with Middle Dutch swinghel), equivalent to swing- (see swing1) + -el instrumental suffix (see -le)
Related formsun·swin·gled, adjective


[swing-guh l]
noun Slang.
  1. a single person who is highly active socially and sexually; an unmarried person who swings.
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Origin of swingle2

1965–70, Americanism; blend of swing1 (in the slang sense “to engage freely and often in sexual activity”) and single
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for swingle

Historical Examples

British Dictionary definitions for swingle


  1. a flat-bladed wooden instrument used for beating and scraping flax or hemp to remove coarse matter from it
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  1. (tr) to use a swingle on
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Word Origin

Old English swingel stroke; related to Middle High German swüngel, Middle Dutch swinghel
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 swingle


"instrument for beating flax," early 14c., from Middle Dutch swinghel "swingle for flax," cognate with Old English swingel "beating, stick to beat," from swingan "to beat, strike, whip" (see swing (v.)) + instrumental suffix -le. Or perhaps directly from the Old English word, with narrowing of sense.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper