Definition of swan song in US English:

swan song


  • A person's final public performance or professional activity before retirement.

    ‘he has decided to make this tour his swan song’
    • ‘Together they form Britain's Olympic sprint team and, as Boardman prepares for a Sydney swansong, this trio has become the great white hope of British cycling.’
    • ‘Dean Holdsworth has turned his back on a Serie A swansong to his career by signing a new two-year contract with Bolton Wanderers.’
    • ‘I.M. Vijayan, who had announced that the Afro-Asian Games was his swansong, was in irresistible form clearly conscious of making his exit in flying colours.’
    • ‘Tonight's cup final was meant to be his swansong after a medal-laden career in Sunday morning football spanning a quarter of a century.’
    • ‘It also saw the final swansong to the Stones recording the blues with their murky version of Robert Johnson's ‘Live With Me’.’
    • ‘But if he wins, he wants a rematch with Wladimir, who he knocked out last March, as a swansong to his career.’
    • ‘The 37-year-old led from the front in an inspiring swansong that included two crucial interception tries in the play-off final.’
    • ‘What a tragedy if this is to be its swansong; to be swept away as with many other fine buildings that have been sacrificed to the redevelopment of Sligo over the last number of years.’
    • ‘Although Room 40 was his swansong in intelligence work, his disciples worked on and emerged during the next war as Churchill's secret stars.’
    • ‘The member who sponsored this bill, which I call her swansong, is unaware of the support that the public in general has for the current Smoke-free Environments Act.’
    • ‘The European Championships would have been my swansong.’
    • ‘This was their first time to play in this grade and the final must surely have been the swansong for such long-serving players as Mark Kavanagh and Mick Lillis.’
    • ‘His team marked his swansong by embarking on one of their famous run riot's and Crayke's bowlers bore the brunt as Park rattled up a massive 303-9.’
    • ‘But as a properly copy-edited and designed book, with all that means for contents and appearance, this is as fine a swansong as one could wish for.’
    • ‘I prepared myself for one last shot, my swansong, my final foray.’
    • ‘Hot on the heels of this announcement she released Travelogue, a supposed swansong wherein she re-tooled her own works with a stellar cast of jazzers and placed them in an orchestral setting.’
    • ‘There will be one Nelson cricketer with his mind fixed firmly on the other side of the world when Australian skipper Steve Waugh walks out for his international swansong tomorrow.’
    • ‘The finale provides an apt swansong with a hypnotic vocal mantra that builds into a potent cadenza reminiscent of the early Doves, but customised by piercing percussive jabs.’
    • ‘The album ends touchingly with stand out track ‘What Became Of The Likely Lads’, which unfortunately could become be the band's swansong.’
    • ‘And with new owners John Stabler and Russell Greenfield still to announce their plans for next season, it could be the final swansong for many of the playing and coaching staff.’
    afterword, postscript, ps, coda, codicil, appendix, tailpiece, supplement, addendum, postlude, rider, back matter
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Early 19th century: suggested by German Schwanengesang, a song like that fabled to be sung by a dying swan.