Definition of swingle in English:



  • 1A wooden tool for beating flax and removing the woody parts from it.

    ‘When the flax is sufficiently watered it is taken out of the pond and beaten by an implement called a swingle.’
  • 2The swinging part of a flail.

    • ‘A flail is a simple device made up from two pieces of wood a handle or staff about five feet long and a swingle that is about two feet long.’
    • ‘The handle of the flail was raised until the swingle was shoulder high and then brought down firmly.’
    • ‘The swingle, half as long as the handle, strikes the grain.’


[with object]
  • Beat (flax) with a swingle.

    ‘I found a group of bare-armed women under the trees swingling flax’
    • ‘When it ripened it had to be pulled, cured, seeded, swingled, spun and woven, all by hand, before it was ready to be made into wearing apparel.’
    • ‘After this comes the scutching, or swingling, which is done by chopping with dull knives on a block of wood to take out the small pieces of bark which may still be sticking to the fiber.’
    • ‘These were then separately swingled, spun and woven.’
    • ‘Flax was raised, and after grandfather had broken, swingled and hatchelled it, grandmother spun it into thread, which sold for $1.50 per pound.’
    • ‘After the hemp has been removed from the field it is in a state to be broken and swingled.’
    • ‘Perhaps he imagines that the flax is first bundled and then beaten (swingled), though that would go against the flailing process which is normally done on a threshing floor.’


Middle English from Middle Dutch swinghel, from the base of the verb swing.