Swan

2 definitions found

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 [gcide]:

Swan \Swan\ (sw[o^]n), noun [AS. swan; akin to D. zwaan, OHG. swan, G. schwan, Icel. svanr, Sw. svan, Dan. svane; and perhaps to E. sound something audible.]

1. (Zool.) Any one of numerous species of large aquatic birds belonging to {Cygnus}, {Olor}, and allied genera of the subfamily {Cygninae}. They have a large and strong beak and a long neck, and are noted for their graceful movements when swimming. Most of the northern species are white. In literature the swan was fabled to sing a melodious song, especially at the time of its death.

Note: The European white, or mute, swan ({Cygnus gibbus}), which is most commonly domesticated, bends its neck in an S-shaped curve. The whistling, or trumpeting, swans of the genus {Olor} do not bend the neck in an S-shaped curve, and are noted for their loud and sonorous cry, due to complex convolutions of the windpipe. To this genus belong the European whooper, or whistling swan ({Olor cygnus}), the American whistling swan ({Olor Columbianus}), and the trumpeter swan ({Olor buccinator}). The Australian black swan ({Chenopis atrata}) is dull black with white on the wings, and has the bill carmine, crossed with a white band. It is a very graceful species and is often domesticated. The South American black-necked swan ({Sthenelides melancorypha}) is a very beautiful and graceful species, entirely white, except the head and neck, which are dark velvety seal-brown. Its bill has a double bright rose-colored knob.

2. Fig.: An appellation for a sweet singer, or a poet noted for grace and melody; as Shakespeare is called the swan of Avon.

3. (Astron.) The constellation Cygnus.

{Swan goose} (Zool.), a bird of India ({Cygnopsis cygnoides}) resembling both the swan and the goose.

{Swan shot}, a large size of shot used in fowling.

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) [wn]:

swan

noun

1: stately heavy-bodied aquatic bird with very long neck and usually white plumage as adult

verb

1: to declare or affirm solemnly and formally as true; "Before God I swear I am innocent" [syn: {affirm}, {verify}, {assert}, {avow}, {aver}, {swan}, {swear}]

2: move about aimlessly or without any destination, often in search of food or employment; "The gypsies roamed the woods"; "roving vagabonds"; "the wandering Jew"; "The cattle roam across the prairie"; "the laborers drift from one town to the next"; "They rolled from town to town" [syn: {roll}, {wander}, {swan}, {stray}, {tramp}, {roam}, {cast}, {ramble}, {rove}, {range}, {drift}, {vagabond}]

3: sweep majestically; "Airplanes were swanning over the mountains"


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