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See also: Swink



Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English swink, from Old English swinc (toil, work, effort; hardship; the produce of labour).


swink (plural swinks)

  1. (archaic) toil, work, drudgery
    • 1963, Anthony Burgess, Inside Mr. Enderby:
      Dead on this homecoming cue Jack came home, his hands sheerfree of salesman’s swink, ready for Enderby.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English swinken, from Old English swincan (to labour, work at, strive, struggle; be in trouble; languish), from Proto-Germanic *swinkaną (to swing, bend), from Proto-Indo-European *sweng-, *swenk- (to bend, swing, swivel). Cognate with Old Norse svinka (to work). Related to swing.


swink (third-person singular simple present swinks, present participle swinking, simple past swank or swonk or swinkt or swinked, past participle swunk or swunken or swonken or swinkt or swinked)

  1. (archaic, intransitive) to labour, to work hard
    • 14th century, William Langland, Piers Plowman
      Heremites on an heep · with hoked staues,
      Wenten to Walsyngham · and here wenches after;
      Grete lobyes and longe · that loth were to swynke,
      Clotheden hem in copis · to be knowen fram othere;
      And shopen hem heremites · here ese to haue.
    • Spenser
      for which men swink and sweat incessantly
    • 1922, James Joyce, Ulysses:
      And on this board were frightful swords and knives that are made in a great cavern by swinking demons out of white flames that they fix in the horns of buffalos and stags that there abound marvellously.
  2. (archaic, transitive) To cause to toil or drudge; to tire or exhaust with labor.
    • Milton
      And the swinked hedger at his supper sat.
Derived terms[edit]