Meaning of swan in English:


Pronunciation /swɒn/

Translate swan into Spanish


  • A large waterbird with a long flexible neck, short legs, webbed feet, a broad bill, and typically all-white plumage.

    Genus Cygnus (and Coscoroba): several species

    ‘Between March and September the rare osprey visits and there are duck, geese, swans, grouse, herons and buzzards.’
    • ‘Experts say migratory birds such as swans and geese are likely responsible for the westward spread of the bird flu virus.’
    • ‘Most ducks are sexually mature at one or two years of age, whereas geese and swans may mature at five years.’
    • ‘In the summer season, swans and sandhill cranes flock to the province by the millions.’
    • ‘Going around the lake I observed crested grebes, coots, moorhens, ducks, swans and herons.’
    • ‘Look out for geese, swans and ducks wearing their fancy breeding plumage and strutting their stuff in search of a mate.’
    • ‘The whole morning passed quickly as we killed three wild ducks, one swan and one guinea fowl.’
    • ‘The canal is a breeding ground for swans, geese, moorhens and other wildlife.’
    • ‘The north Kent marshes, which run from Gravesend to Whitstable, are a home and breeding ground for ducks, geese, swans and waders.’
    • ‘Binoculars are supplied so you can view the black teal, swans, dabchicks, ducks and even the spotless crake or elusive bittern.’
    • ‘Only during the last two years of our study did swans tend to feed outside of the study area along the shallower northern rim of the marsh.’
    • ‘We lured the swans from the water with bread morsels and captured them by hand.’
    • ‘Lead poisoning has long been a problem for this species, because ingesting only a few lead pellets can kill a swan.’
    • ‘He liked to watch the swans and the geese in the big pond with the fancy arched bridge and the little gazebo.’
    • ‘To appreciate a swan spectacular on a grand sale, visit the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust's Welney reserve.’
    • ‘Quill pens were generally cut from the outer hollow wing feathers of swans or geese but feathers from eagles, crows, and turkeys were also found to be suitable.’
    • ‘In addition to ducks, geese and swans are on the checklist.’
    • ‘I'd walk to school along the Dodder and watch the abundance of wildlife - kingfishers, ducks, geese and swans.’
    • ‘Ever-mindful of the swans, the ducks flapped as they fought for pieces of crust that floated, and dived for bits of bread that sunk.’
    poet, versifier, verse-maker, rhymester, rhymer, sonneteer, lyricist, lyrist, elegist

verbverb swans, verb swanning, verb swanned

informal British no object, with adverbial of direction
  • Move about or go somewhere in a casual, irresponsible, or ostentatious way.

    • ‘swanning around Europe nowadays are we?’
    • ‘Theirs was a union made in hell and they soon drifted apart, Smith swanning around town like a bachelor with his bohemian chums while his wife Anne piled on the weight and drank Famous Grouse whiskey.’
    • ‘Taking the mickey out of modern dance, they conjure up moves by all the greats, starting with Isadora Duncan swanning around the Louvre and ending in a symphony of blue.’
    • ‘Now we move over to the Hoyland house, where Kayla is swanning around the living room looking like she's instantly been transformed back to her pre-baby figure.’
    • ‘I don't know, swarthy Latin flowers swanning over here, stealing our innocent British flowers and ‘interfering with their genetic integrity’.’
    • ‘Indeed they have, and not go swanning off fighting righteous crusades against dictators hamstrung by UN weapons inspection programmes in the cause of making the President popular.’
    • ‘The Prime Minister has been swanning around Africa at our expense, wiping out many thousands of pounds owed to us by these different African countries.’
    • ‘All those lazy swines like him get away with murder, driving around in their Jags and swanning around without a care in the world.’
    • ‘He found he derived ‘more satisfaction in ten days over Christmas than I did in the rest of the year swanning around the world’.’
    • ‘Across Russia there was fury that while the people feared the worst for 116 of their compatriots their leader was swanning around on holiday.’
    • ‘His back header confounded the makeshift Lions' back four, Brown swanning in to volley definitively into the roof of Main's net.’
    • ‘It's all very well for him to come swanning up here from London and perpetuate the image but we have to pick up the pieces.’
    • ‘The parentals are swanning off to Niue on Christmas Day this year for a little R&R.’
    • ‘I was swanning around a coffee shop in the mall the other day with good friends Simon and Bradley, sipping long flat whites and commenting derogatorily on the undesirables that were filing past.’
    • ‘But Stone's Tramell has become a tedious presence to be around, swanning about the place in almost cartoonish fashion and stripping the character of any real intrigue.’
    • ‘You went from having jet-set stars like Pelé, Beckenbauer and Best swanning around to a system that would have at best been described as semi-professional.’
    • ‘So they started swanning around the room taking elegant drags off their imaginary cigarettes and then immediately pretending to hack up a lung.’
    • ‘These people who work for the national health are there because they care about you and me over swanning around in private care patching up the middle classes after a golfing accident.’
    • ‘Everybody's taking up diving these days - but they all want to be Jacques Cousteau, swanning about in the coral with hammerhead sharks and manta rays.’
    • ‘My whole big plan is going to have to go on hold for a good year more because I won't be able to go swanning off overseas when I have to make mortgage payments.’
    • ‘A few years before him it was Gretchen Mol swanning on the cover.’
    meander, make one's way, wind one's way, find one's way, pick one's way


Old English, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zwaan and German Schwan. The current sense of the verb originated as military slang, referring to the free movement of armoured vehicles.