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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).



swive (third-person singular simple present swives, present participle swiving, simple past and past participle swived)

  1. (archaic, transitive) To copulate with (a woman).
    • c. 1674, John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, 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.
  2. (archaic, transitive, dialectal) To cut a crop in a sweeping or rambling manner, hence to reap; cut for harvest.
    • 1815, Walter Davies, Board of Agriculture, Agricultural Surveys: pts. 1-2. South Wales (1815), 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, Board of Agriculture, General view of the agriculture and domestic economy of South Wales, Volume 1, 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 Historical Society, Ceredigion: Journal of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Association - Volumes 2-3, page 160
      Moreover, according to Walter Davies "swiving" was a method of reaping first adopted in Cardiganshire.

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