One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1literary A young lover or suitor.
suitor, wooer, worshipper, beau, sweetheart, lover, love, beloved, lady love, boyfriend, girlfriend, young man, young lady, man friend, lady friend, escortView synonyms
- ‘‘You sound like a lovesick swain,’ she told him, and walked to the window.’
- ‘Old and blind, Juliette gave her a lock of Chateaubriand's hair when her eighty-year-old swain died.’
- ‘We all loved Queen Aouda and her handsome and dashing swain, the hero of the piece, Phileas Fogg.’
- ‘In Lycidas, the poet / swain in the poem, together with the author, anticipate ‘Pastures new’ on the morrow.’
- ‘Many a desperate swain would have risked life for the privilege of pressing his lips to the mysterious hand.’
2archaic A country youth.countryman, countrywoman, peasant, daughter of the soil, son of the soil, country bumpkin, bumpkin, yokel, country cousinView synonyms
Late Old English (denoting a young man attendant on a knight), from Old Norse sveinn ‘lad’.
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