Definition of swain in English:



  • 1literary A young lover or suitor.

    • ‘We all loved Queen Aouda and her handsome and dashing swain, the hero of the piece, Phileas Fogg.’
    • ‘Many a desperate swain would have risked life for the privilege of pressing his lips to the mysterious hand.’
    • ‘‘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.’
    • ‘In Lycidas, the poet / swain in the poem, together with the author, anticipate ‘Pastures new’ on the morrow.’
    suitor, wooer, worshipper, beau, sweetheart, lover, love, beloved, lady love, boyfriend, girlfriend, young man, young lady, man friend, lady friend, escort
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  • 2archaic A country youth.


Late Old English (denoting a young man attendant on a knight), from Old Norse sveinn lad.