Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From swamp +‎ -er.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈswɒmpə/
  • (file)


swamper (plural swampers)

  1. (US) A person who lives in a swampy area. [from 18th c.]
  2. (US) A person who clears a road for lumberers in a forest or swamp. [from 19th c.]
    • 1860, James Brown, New Brunswick as a Home for Emigrants, p. 10:
      In the latter part of winter, I hired with a lumberer – camped out, and wrought in the forest as a swamper.
  3. Someone or something that swamps or overwhelms. [from 19th c.]
    • 1991, Kedar Nath Prasad, India's Rural Problems, p. 38:
      The Population Factor is a dissipator or swamper of the gain in per capita income and hence of the redressal of poverty to that degree.
  4. (Canada, US, slang) A truck driver's assistant; an assistant to a driver of horses, mules or bullocks. [from 19th c.]
    • 1926, Jacob Allred, "Driving the last 20-mule team across Death Valley", Popular Mechanics, Apr 1926, p. 610:
      To use such a brake on the front wagon, the driver stood up on the seat, letting the team follow the leaders, and threw his whole weight on the upper end of the bar, while the swamper braked the rear wagon.
  5. (Australia, slang) a person who travels by foot but has his belongings on a wagon. [from 19th c.]
    • 1901, May Vivienne, Travels in Western Australia: Being A Description of the Various Cities and Towns, Goldfields, and Agricultural Districts of that State, 1993, page 167,
      On the road to the Diorite King, which is about 40 miles from Leonora, there was nothing much to see except a good many swampers. A “swamper” is a man tramping without his swag, which he entrusts to a teamster to bring on his waggon.
    • 1936, Sir John Kirwan, My Life's Adventure, p. 77:
      He arrived at Western Australia the year after the discovery of gold at Coolgardie, and walked to the goldfields as a "swamper" – that is, he paid to have his belongings carried on a dray while he trudged along beside it.
  6. (US) A handyman or general employee in a liquor saloon; a cook's assistant. [from 20th c.]
    • 1937, John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men, Penguin 1994, p. 19:
      The old swamper shifted his broom and held it between his elbow and his side while he held out his hand for the can.