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verb (used without object)
  1. to faint; lose consciousness.
  2. to enter a state of hysterical rapture or ecstasy: The teenagers swooned at the sight of the singing star.
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  1. a faint or fainting fit; syncope.
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Origin of swoon

1250–1300; (v.) Middle English swo(w)nen to faint, orig. as gerund swowening, swoghning act of swooning, ultimately continuing Old English -swōgan (in compounds) to rush, overrun, choke; (noun) Middle English, partly derivative of the v., partly extracted from in (a) swoune, on swoune, alteration of a swoune, aswoune in a swoon, as if equivalent to a a-1 + swoon (noun), but probably continuing Old English āswōgen, past participle of āswōgan to overcome (see a-3), or geswōgen (past participle) senseless, dead
Related formsswoon·ing·ly, adverbun·swoon·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for swooning


verb (intr)
  1. a literary word for faint
  2. to become ecstatic
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  1. an instance of fainting
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Also (archaic or dialect): swound
Derived Formsswooning, adjectiveswooningly, adverb

Word Origin

Old English geswōgen insensible, past participle of swōgan (unattested except in compounds) to suffocate
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 swooning



c.1300, suowne, "state of unconsciousness," probably from Old English geswogen "in a faint," past participle of a lost verb *swogan, as in Old English aswogan "to choke," of uncertain origin. Cf. Low German swogen "to sigh."

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c.1200, "to become unconscious," probably from a lost Old English verb *swogan (see swoon (n.)). Related: Swooned; swooning.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper