AskDefine | Define swain

Dictionary Definition

swain n : a man who is the lover of a girl or young woman; "if I'd known he was her boyfriend I wouldn't have asked" [syn: boyfriend, fellow, beau, young man]

User Contributed Dictionary



Via Middle English swein from Old Norse sveinn, akin to Old English swān



  1. A servant. Originally the servant to a Knight, looking after his armaments and horse.
  2. A young man dwelling in the country; a rustic; esp., a country gallant or lover; — chiefly in poetry. Hence, the road name "Swains' Lane" can be translated to "Lovers' Lane".
  3. A boyfriend; a man who is the lover of a woman.

Extensive Definition

Swain is a traditional English surname derived ultimately from the Old Norse personal name Sveinn (Sven, Sweyn), meaning a youth, young man. There are a number of variations in the spelling of the surname Swain, including Swaine, Swainne and Swayne.
Swain is also a surname in Orissa India
From this word meaning boy, young male or servant, are derived:

Notable people named Swain

See also

swain in German: Swain
swain in French: Swain

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Casanova, Don Juan, Lothario, Romeo, amoroso, beau, bodyguard, boyfriend, caballero, cavalier, cavaliere servente, chaperon, companion, conductor, convoy, duenna, escort, esquire, fellow, fellow traveler, flame, gallant, gentleman friend, gigolo, guard, inamorato, lady-killer, love-maker, man, necker, old man, petter, philanderer, safe-conduct, seducer, sheik, shepherd, spark, sparker, squire, sugar daddy, usher, wooer, young man
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