From Middle English swiven, from Old English swīfan (“to move, sweep, wend, revolve”), from Proto-Germanic *swībaną (“to wipe, sweep”), from Proto-Indo-European *weyp- (“to twist, wind around, swing, sweep, bend”). Cognate with Old Frisian swīva, swīfa (“to waver”), Old Norse svīfa (“to drift, ramble, rove”), Norwegian Nynorsk sviva (“to rotate, wander”). Related to Old English swift (“swift”), Middle English swyvel (“swivel”).
- (archaic, transitive) To copulate with (a woman).
- c. 1674, John, Earl of Rochester Wilmot, A Satyr on Charles II:
- 'Tis sure the sauciest prick that e'er did swive
- 2005, Sophia B. Johnson, Risk Everything:
- “You were in such heat to swive me, you tore the clothes from your body.”
- 2008, Sarah McKerrigan, Lady Danger:
- He didn't intend to swive her here in the tiltyard, did he? Surely he was not so heathen as that.
- 2009, Bernard Cornwell, Gallows Thief:
- His mother was a holy damned fool and swiving her was like rogering a prayerful mouse, and the bloody fool thinks he's taken after her, but he hasn't.
- 2019, Jodi Taylor, Argumentation of Historians:
- 'Oh swive', said Markham. 'What the swive could those swiving swivers possibly swiving well want?'
- (archaic, transitive, dialectal) To cut a crop in a sweeping or rambling manner, hence to reap; cut for harvest.
- 1815, Walter Davies, Agricultural Surveys: pts. 1-2. South Wales (1815), Board of Agriculture, page 426:
- The cradled scythes of the Vale of Towey were scarcely known in the Vale of Teivy; and the swiving method of reaping wheat in the latter, was as little known in the former ...
- 1815, Walter Davies, General view of the agriculture and domestic economy of South Wales, Volume 1, Board of Agriculture, page 425:
- Swiving is a method first adopted apparently in Cardiganshire ...
- 1905, Joseph Wright, English Dialect Dictionary, page 893:
- swive ... to cut grain or beans with a broad hook; to mow with a reaping-hook ... "swiver": a reaper who "swives" the grain
- 1929, Mary Gladys Meredith Webb, Precious Bane:
- We started swiving, that is reaping, at the beginning of August-month, and we left the stooks [stalks] standing in the fields ...
- 1955, Ceredigion: Journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Association, volumes 2-3, Ceredigion Historical Society, page 160:
- Moreover, according to Walter Davies "swiving" was a method of reaping first adopted in Cardiganshire.