swan

swan O.E. swan, from P.Gmc. *swanaz (Cf. O.S. swan, O.N. svanr, M.Du. swane, Du. zwaan, O.H.G. swan, Ger. Schwan), probably lit. "the singing bird," from PIE root *swon-/*swen- "to sing, make sound" (see SOUND (Cf. sound) (n.1)); thus related to O.E. geswin "melody, song" and swinsian "to make melody." In classical mythology, sacred to Apollo and to Venus. The singing of swans before death was alluded to by Chaucer (late 14c.), but swan-song (1831) is a translation of Ger. Schwanengesang. Swan dive is recorded from 1898. A black swan was proverbial for "something extremely rare or non-existent" (late 14c.), after Juvenal ["Sat." vi. 164], but later they turned up in Australia.
"Do you say no worthy wife is to be found among all these crowds?" Well, let her be handsome, charming, rich and fertile; let her have ancient ancestors ranged about her halls; let her be more chaste than all the dishevelled Sabine maidens who stopped the war--a prodigy as rare upon the earth as a black swan! yet who could endure a wife that possessed all perfections? I would rather have a Venusian wench for my wife than you, O Cornelia, mother of the Gracchi, if, with all your virtues, you bring me a haughty brow, and reckon up Triumphs as part of your marriage portion. [Juvenal]

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • SWAN — bezeichnet ein australisches Kriegsschiff im Zweiten Weltkrieg, siehe HMAS Swan (U74) eine Sloop Klasse der Royal Navy, siehe Black Swan Klasse (Sloop) eine finnische Werft, siehe Nautor’s Swan, sowie eine Yacht dieses Herstellers, siehe Swan 48… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Swan — bezeichnet ein australisches Kriegsschiff im Zweiten Weltkrieg, siehe HMAS Swan (U74) eine Sloop Klasse der Royal Navy, siehe Black Swan Klasse (Sloop) eine finnische Werft, siehe Nautor’s Swan, sowie Yachtmodelle dieses Herstellers, siehe auch… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Swan — (sw[o^]n), n. [AS. swan; akin to D. zwaan, OHG. swan, G. schwan, Icel. svanr, Sw. svan, Dan. svane; and perhaps to E. sound something audible.] 1. (Zo[ o]l.) Any one of numerous species of large aquatic birds belonging to {Cygnus}, {Olor}, and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Swan 48 — Foto / Zeichnung technische Daten LüA: 14,83 m LWL: 12,50 m Breite: 4,32 m …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • swan — swan; swan·i·mote; swan·nery; swan·ny; swan·sea; swan·skin; swan·mote; …   English syllables

  • swan — swan1 [swän, swôn] n. [ME < OE, akin to Ger schwan < IE base * swen , to sound, sing > L sonus,SOUND1 ] 1. pl. swans or swan any of several large bodied, web footed waterfowl (family Anatidae, esp. genus Cygnus) with a long, graceful… …   English World dictionary

  • swan n — Swan swam over the sea, Swim, swan, swim! Swan swam back again. Well swum, swan! …   English expressions

  • Swan — Swan, IA U.S. city in Iowa Population (2000): 121 Housing Units (2000): 40 Land area (2000): 0.647074 sq. miles (1.675914 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.647074 sq. miles (1.675914 sq. km) FIPS …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Swan, IA — U.S. city in Iowa Population (2000): 121 Housing Units (2000): 40 Land area (2000): 0.647074 sq. miles (1.675914 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.647074 sq. miles (1.675914 sq. km) FIPS code:… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Swan — Swan, John Macallan Swan, Joseph Wilson …   Enciclopedia Universal

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