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illustration Swain



Part of speech: noun

Origin: Old Norse, 14th century


A young lover or suitor.


A country youth.

Examples of Swain in a sentence

"The eager swain showed up at her door with a bouquet of flowers to ask her to prom."

"He didn’t often leave the farm, but the swain went into town for supplies once a month."

About Swain

In Old Norse, "sveinn" meant "boy," or "servant." Old English adopted "swain" to describe a young man attending a knight. It picked up a few more definitions over the years, with "swain" meaning "a country youth," and then "a gentleman suitor." The courting version stuck around thanks to Romantic literature.

Did you Know?

Swain is an old-fashioned term for a beau, boyfriend, or suitor. While the term isn’t used much these days, try introducing your new boyfriend as your swain — the charming moniker might win over your friends and family.

illustration Swain

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