from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Any of various large aquatic birds of the family Anatidae chiefly of the genera Cygnus and Olor, having webbed feet, a long slender neck, and usually white plumage.
- n. See Cygnus.
- intransitive v. Chiefly British To travel around from place to place: "Swanning around Europe nowadays, are we?” ( Jeffrey Archer).
- intransitive v. Chiefly Southern U.S. To declare; swear. Used in the phrase I swan as an interjection. See Regional Note at vum.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. Any of various species of large, long-necked waterfowl, of genus Cygnus, most of which have white plumage.
- n. One whose grace etc. suggests a swan.
- v. (intransitive) To travel from place to place with no fixed itinerary or purpose.
- v. To declare (chiefly in first-person present constructions).
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. Any one of numerous species of large aquatic birds belonging to Cygnus, Olor, and allied genera of the subfamily Cygninæ. They have a large and strong beak and a long neck, and are noted for their graceful movements when swimming. Most of the northern species are white. In literature the swan was fabled to sing a melodious song, especially at the time of its death.
- n. Fig.: An appellation for a sweet singer, or a poet noted for grace and melody.
- n. The constellation Cygnus.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A large lamellirostral palmiped bird, of the family Anatidæ and subfamily Cygninæ, with a long and flexible neck, naked lores, reticulate tarsi, and simple or slightly lobed hallux. ; ; ;
- n. In heraldry, a bearing representing a swan, usually with the wings raised as it carries them when swimming. It is therefore not necessary to say in the blazon “with wings indorsed.” See below.
- n. In astronomy See Cygnus, 2.
- n. See def. 1.
- To swear: used in the phrase I swan, an expression of emphasis. Also swon.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- v. sweep majestically
- n. stately heavy-bodied aquatic bird with very long neck and usually white plumage as adult
- v. move about aimlessly or without any destination, often in search of food or employment
- v. to declare or affirm solemnly and formally as true
Middle English, from Old English.
Probably alteration of dialectal (I) s' warrant, (I) shall warrant.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English swan, from Proto-Germanic *swanaz. Cognate with Saxon swan, Old Norse svanr, Dutch zwaan, German Schwan), probably literally "the singing bird," from a Proto-Indo-European base *swon-/*swen- "to sing, make sound". Related to Old English geswin ("melody, song") and swinsian ("to make melody"). (Wiktionary)
Probably from dialectal I s'wan, contraction of "I shall warrant"; later seen as a minced form of I swear. (Wiktionary)