from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The soft down of a swan.
  • noun A soft woolen or wool and silk fabric.
  • noun Flannelette.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The down or under-plumage of a swan. It is made into a delicate trimming for garments, but it is principally used for powder-puffs. Also swan-down.
  • noun A fine, soft, thick woolen cloth.
  • noun A thick cotton cloth with a soft pile or nap on one side: more commonly called Canton or cotton flannel.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The down, or fine, soft feathers, of the swan, used on various articles of dress.
  • noun A fine, soft, thick cloth of wool mixed with silk or cotton; a sort of twilled fustian, like moleskin.
  • noun See Cotton flannel, under Cotton.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Alternative spelling of swansdown.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun down of the swan
  • noun soft woolen fabric used especially for baby clothes


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Sara, you must have a white dress; something with long, soft folds, and -- yes -- and trimmed with swan's-down.

    Sara, a Princess

  • Dora Talbot, coming into the corridor in a pale pink cashmere dressing-gown trimmed with swan's-down, in which she looks the very personification of innocence and youth, screams loudly, and demands hysterically to be informed as to the cause of the unusual noise.

    The Haunted Chamber A Novel

  • For some time the children stood in silence, watching the snow-flakes as they whirled and danced and floated like so many feathers, only to fall and pile up and cover the brown earth and the bare branches as with a lovely mantle of swan's-down.

    Harper's Young People, February 10, 1880 An Illustrated Weekly

  • "Do try it on, Sara; I'm a little afraid about this skirt; it looks short in front, and you know she has had to go almost entirely by measure, so far; here, let me pin the rest of this swan's-down in place, while you take off your dress."

    Sara, a Princess

  • The Indians have such a fancy for feathers, that, in some of their medicine ceremonies, they smear their heads with a sticky substance, and cover them all over with swan's-down.

    Life at Puget Sound: With Sketches of Travel in Washington Territory, British Columbia, Oregon and California

  • They resumed their duties; the Indian "swish-swished" ahead, as if wading through a sea of swan's-down; the dogs followed listlessly; the partners leaned against the stubborn load.

    The Boy Scouts Book of Campfire Stories

  • You will observe that he had half a yard of the finest cambric, as soft as a zephyr, and as warm as swan's-down, tied once round; and ending before in long deep borders of the most precious

    Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 57, No. 357, June, 1845

  • The most delicate ruffles filled the front of his swan's-down vest and fell over his hands, which were remarkably white and small and taper-fingered, like a fine lady's.

    Round Anvil Rock A Romance

  • "I shall wear my red satin cloak trimmed with swan's-down," said she.

    Story Hour Readers — Book Three

  • And never mind about the swan's-down; for I have some on a dress,

    Sara, a Princess


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.