\ ˈswān How to pronounce swain (audio) \

Definition of swain

1 : rustic, peasant specifically : shepherd
2 : a male admirer or suitor

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Other Words from swain

swainish \ ˈswā-​nish How to pronounce swain (audio) \ adjective
swainishness noun

Examples of swain in a Sentence

a fair maiden and her swain a romanticized portrait of a bygone era of beauteous Southern belles and their gallant swains
Recent Examples on the Web Harley, however, has now split with her grinning swain and gone solo. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "Harley Quinn Isn’t the Most Criminal Thing in “Birds of Prey”," 7 Feb. 2020 Still, Pattinson is something to see as the confident 19th-century swain — so confident, in fact, that his all-American optimism starts to seem like a threat. Ty Burr, BostonGlobe.com, "‘Damsel’ takes the western to unusual places," 27 June 2018 The film shifts to mechanical manipulation, though, shortly after Rossano Brazzi makes his appearance as Hepburn's swain. Patrick Friel, Chicago Reader, "Film / On Video / Small Screen / The Internet David Lean, FilmStruck’s ‘director of the week,’ has more to offer than just Lawrence of Arabia," 8 May 2018 Ere long a torch song singer was crooning some Jazz Age hits and the dance floor was crowded with flappers in fringed black shimmy frocks and their tuxedoed swains, giving us full-on Chicago in New York. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "Hamish Bowles Goes Inside Dolce & Gabbana’s Alta Moda and Sartoria Events in New York City," 9 Apr. 2018 A simple Google search on my former swain’s name brought up the band website, reviews in area press and listings of events where the band will be playing over the holidays. Regina Lynn, WIRED, "How Long Is Your Digital Trail?," 3 Dec. 2004

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'swain.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of swain

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for swain

Middle English swein boy, servant, from Old Norse sveinn; akin to Old English swān swain, Latin suus one's own — more at suicide

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Time Traveler for swain

Time Traveler

The first known use of swain was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Swain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swain. Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of swain

old-fashioned + humorous : a man who is a woman's lover

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