swain

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English swayn, swain, sweyn, swein, from Old English sweġen (attested also as personal name Swein, Sweġen), from Old Norse sveinn, from Proto-Germanic *swainaz (relative, young man, servant), from Proto-Indo-European *swé (oneself; separate; apart), thus properly one's own. Cognate with Danish svend (hireling, young man), Norwegian svein (lad, young man, servant) Icelandic sveinn (boy, lad, servant), Swedish sven (swain, servant), Low German Sween, dialectal German Schwein, Old English swān (swineherd, lad).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

swain (plural swains)

  1. (obsolete) A young man or boy in service; a servant.
  2. (obsolete) A knight's servant; an attendant.
  3. (archaic) A country labourer; a countryman, a rustic.
  4. (poetic) A rural lover; a male sweetheart in a pastoral setting.

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