swell (n.) Look up swell at Dictionary.com
c. 1200, "a morbid swelling," from swell (v.). In reference to a rise of the sea, it is attested from c. 1600; of music, by 1803. The meaning "wealthy, elegant person" is first recorded 1786, connected to the now-obsolete sense "pompousness, arrogance" (1724), both from the notion of "puffed-up" demeanor or behavior.
swell (adj.) Look up swell at Dictionary.com
"fashionably dressed or equipped," 1810, from swell (n.) in the "stylish person" sense. As "good, excellent," by 1897; as a stand-alone expression of satisfaction it is recorded from 1930 in American English.
swelling (n.) Look up swelling at Dictionary.com
"tumor, morbid enlargement," Old English; verbal noun from swell (v.).
swelter (v.) Look up swelter at Dictionary.com
c. 1400, "faint with heat," frequentative of swelten "be faint (especially with heat)," late 14c., from Old English sweltan "to die, perish," from Proto-Germanic *swiltan- (cognates: Old Saxon sweltan "to die," Old Norse svelta "to put to death, starve," Gothic sviltan "to die"), perhaps originally "to burn slowly," hence "to be overcome with heat or fever," from PIE root *swel- (2) "to shine, beam" (see Selene). From the same ancient root comes Old English swelan "to burn." For specialization of words meaning "to die," compare starve. Related: Sweltered; sweltering.
swelter (n.) Look up swelter at Dictionary.com
"a sweltering condition," 1851, from swelter (v.).
sweltering (adj.) Look up sweltering at Dictionary.com
"oppressively hot" (of weather, seasons), 1590s, present participle adjective from swelter (v.). Related: Swelteringly.
sweltry (adj.) Look up sweltry at Dictionary.com
1570s, for *sweltery, from swelter (v.) + -y (2).
swept Look up swept at Dictionary.com
past participle of sweep (v.).
swerve (v.) Look up swerve at Dictionary.com
c. 1200, "to depart, go make off; turn away or aside;" c. 1300, "to turn aside, deviate from a straight course;" in form from Old English sweorfan "to rub, scour, file away, grind away," but sense development is difficult to trace. The Old English word is from Proto-Germanic *swerb- (cf Old Norse sverfa "to scour, file," Old Saxon swebran "to wipe off"), from PIE root *swerbh- "to turn; wipe off." Cognate words in other Germanic languages (cognates: Old Frisian swerva "to creep," Middle Dutch swerven "to rove, roam, stray") suggests the sense of "go off, turn aside" might have existed in Old English, though unrecorded. Related: Swerved; swerving.
swerve (n.) Look up swerve at Dictionary.com
1741, from swerve (v.).
swift (adj.) Look up swift at Dictionary.com
Old English swift "moving quickly," perhaps originally "turning quickly," from Proto-Germanic swip- (see swivel (n.)). Related: Swiftly; swiftness.
swift (n.) Look up swift at Dictionary.com
type of bird (several species of the family Cypselidæ, resembling swallows), 1660s, from swift (adj.) in reference to its swift flight. Regarded as a bird of ill-omen, if not downright demonic, probably for its shrill cry. The name earlier had been given to several small fast lizards (1520s).
swig (v.) Look up swig at Dictionary.com
1650s, from swig (n.). Related: Swigged; swigging.
swig (n.) Look up swig at Dictionary.com
1540s, "a drink, liquor," later "big or hearty drink of liquor" (1620s), of unknown origin.
swill (n.) Look up swill at Dictionary.com
"liquid kitchen refuse fed to pigs," 1550s, from swill (v.).
swill (v.) Look up swill at Dictionary.com
Old English swilian, swillan "to wash out, gargle," probably from Proto-Germanic *swil-, related to the root of swallow (v.). Meaning "drink greedily" is from 1530s. Related: Swilled; swilling.
swim (v.) Look up swim at Dictionary.com
Old English swimman "to move in or on the water, float" (class III strong verb; past tense swamm, past participle swummen), from Proto-Germanic *swimjan (cognates: Old Saxon and Old High German swimman, Old Norse svimma, Dutch zwemmen, German schwimmen), from PIE root *swem- "to be in motion."

The root is sometimes said to be restricted to Germanic, but according to OED possible cognates are Welsh chwyf "motion," Old Irish do-sennaim "I hunt," Lithuanian sundyti "to chase." For the usual Indo-European word, see natatorium. Transitive sense of "cross by swimming" is from 1590s. Sense of "reel or move unsteadily" first recorded 1670s; of the head or brain, from 1702. Figurative phrase sink or swim is attested from mid-15c., in early use often with reference to ordeals of suspected witches.
swim (n.) Look up swim at Dictionary.com
1540s, "the clear part of any liquid" (above the sediment), from swim (v.). Meaning "part of a river or stream frequented by fish" (and hence fishermen) is from 1828, and is probably the source of the figurative meaning "the current of the latest affairs or events" (as in in the swim "on the inside, involved with current events," 1869). Meaning "act of swimming" is from 1764.
swimmer (n.) Look up swimmer at Dictionary.com
late 14c., agent noun from swim (v.).
swimmeret (n.) Look up swimmeret at Dictionary.com
1840, from swimmer (n.) + diminutive suffix -let. Related: Swimmerets.
swimming (n.) Look up swimming at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "act of propelling the body through water," verbal noun from swim (v.). Swimming hole is from 1855, American English; swimming pool is from 1881.
swimmingly (adv.) Look up swimmingly at Dictionary.com
"with steady, smooth progress; in an easy, gliding manner," 1620s, from swimming + -ly (2).
swimsuit (n.) Look up swimsuit at Dictionary.com
also swim-suit, 1920, from swim + suit (n.).
swindle (v.) Look up swindle at Dictionary.com
1782, back-formation from swindler "cheater." Related: Swindled; swindling. As a noun, "act of swindling," from 1833.
swindler (n.) Look up swindler at Dictionary.com
1774, from German Schwindler "giddy person, extravagant speculator, cheat," from schwindeln "to be giddy, act extravagantly, swindle," from Old High German swintilon "be giddy," frequentative form of swintan "to languish, disappear;" cognate with Old English swindan, and probably with swima "dizziness." Said to have been introduced in London by German Jews c. 1762.
swine (n.) Look up swine at Dictionary.com
Old English swin "pig, hog, wild boar," from Proto-Germanic *swinan (cognates: Old Saxon, Old Frisian Middle Low German, Old High German swin, Middle Dutch swijn, Dutch zwijn, German Schwein, Old Norse, Swedish, Danish svin), neuter adjective (with suffix *-ino-) from PIE *su- "pig" (see sow (n.)). The native word, largely ousted by pig. Applied to persons from late 14c. Phrase pearls before swine (mid-14c.) is from Matt. vii:6; an early English formation of it was:
Ne ge ne wurpen eowre meregrotu toforan eowrum swynon. [c. 1000]
The Latin word in the Gospel verse was confused in French with marguerite "daisy" (the "pearl" of the field), and in Dutch the expression became "roses before swine." Swine-flu attested from 1921.
swineherd (n.) Look up swineherd at Dictionary.com
c. 1100, swynhyrde; see swine + herd.
swing (v.) Look up swing at Dictionary.com
Old English swingan "beat, strike; scourge, flog; to rush, fling oneself" (strong verb, past tense swang, past participle swungen), from Proto-Germanic *swingan (cognates: Old Saxon, Old High German swingan, Old Frisian swinga, German schwingen "to swing, swingle, oscillate"), from PIE *sweng(w)- "to swing, turn, toss" (perhaps Germanic only).

The meaning "move freely back and forth" is first recorded 1540s. Transitive sense "cause to oscillate" is from 1550s. Sense of "bring about, make happen" is from 1934. Sense of "engage in promiscuous sex" is from 1964; earlier, more generally, "enjoy oneself unconventionally" (1957). Related: Swung; swinging. Swing-voter "independent who often determines the outcome of an election" is from 1966.
swing (n.) Look up swing at Dictionary.com
Old English swinge "stroke, blow; chastisement," from swing (v.). Meaning "suspended seat on ropes" is from 1680s. Meaning "shift of public opinion" is from 1899. The meaning "variety of big dance-band music with a swinging rhythm" is first recorded 1933, though the sense has been traced back to 1888; its heyday was from mid-30s to mid-40s. Phrase in full swing "in total effect or operation" (1560s) perhaps is from bell-ringing. The backyard or playground swing-set is from 1951.
swing-shift (n.) Look up swing-shift at Dictionary.com
1941 (typically 4 p.m. to midnight), from the notion of "facing both ways" between day and night shifts; see swing (v.) + shift (n.).
swinger (n.) Look up swinger at Dictionary.com
1540s, "one who or that which swings," agent noun from swing (v.). Also (now obsolete) "anything big or great" (1580s). Meaning "person who is sexually promiscuous" is from 1964. Old English swingere (n.) meant "one who strikes, scourger."
swinging (adj.) Look up swinging at Dictionary.com
1550s, "moving to and fro," present participle adjective from swing (v.). Meaning "marked by a free, sweeping movement" is from 1818. Sense of "uninhibited" is from 1958.
swingle (n.) Look up swingle at Dictionary.com
"instrument for beating flax," early 14c., from Middle Dutch swinghel "swingle for flax," cognate with Old English swingell "beating, stick to beat, whip, scourge, rod," from swingan "to beat, strike, whip" (see swing (v.)) + instrumental suffix -el (1). Or perhaps directly from the Old English word, with narrowing of sense.
swingletree (n.) Look up swingletree at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., from swingle "that which swings" + tree (n.) in obsolete Middle English sense "pole."
swinish (adj.) Look up swinish at Dictionary.com
c. 1200, originally of persons or behavior, "like a swine; gluttonous, sensual, degraded, beastly," from swine + -ish. Related: Swinishly; swinishness. Similar formation in German schweinisch. Old English had swinlic in same sense.
swipe (v.) Look up swipe at Dictionary.com
1825, "strike with a sweeping motion," from swipe (n.). The slang sense of "steal, pilfer" appeared 1885, American English; earliest use in prison jargon:
The blokes in the next cell, little Charley Ames and the Sheeney Kid, they was hot to try it, and swiped enough shoe-lining out of shop No. 5, where they worked, to make us all breeches to the stripes. ["Lippincott's Magazine," vol. 35, June 1885]
Meaning "run a credit card" is 1990s. Related: Swiped; swiper; swiping.
swipe (n.) Look up swipe at Dictionary.com
1807, "a driving stroke made with the arms in full swing," perhaps a dialectal variant of sweep (n.), or in part from obsolete swip "a stroke, blow" (c. 1200), from Proto-Germanic *swip-, related to Old English swipu "a stick, whip; chastisement." Other possible sources or influences are Middle English swope "to sweep with broad movements" (in reference to brooms, swords, etc.), from Old English swapan; obsolete swaip "stroke, blow;" or obsolete swape "oar, pole."
swirl (v.) Look up swirl at Dictionary.com
1510s (transitive), with an isolated instance from 14c.; from swirl (n.). Intransitive sense "form in eddies, whirl in eddies" is from 1755. Related: Swirled; swirling.
swirl (n.) Look up swirl at Dictionary.com
early 15c., "whirlpool, eddy," originally Scottish, of uncertain origin, perhaps related to dialectal Norwegian svirla or Dutch zwirrelen "to whirl." The meaning "whirling movement" is from 1818.
swirly (adj.) Look up swirly at Dictionary.com
1785, from swirl (n.) + -y (2).
swish (n.) Look up swish at Dictionary.com
1820, sound of something moving through the air, from swish (v.); sense of "effeminate homosexual" is 1930s in homosexual slang, probably from notion of mincing motion. Related: Swishy (adj.).
swish (v.) Look up swish at Dictionary.com
1756 (intransitive); 1799 (transitive), probably imitative of the sound made by something brushing against or through something. Related: Swished; swishing.
Swiss (n.) Look up Swiss at Dictionary.com
1510s, from Middle French Suisse, from Middle High German Suizer, from Suiz "Switzerland" (see Switzerland and compare Switzer (1570s), archaic word for "a Swiss," and German Schweiz). As an adjective from 1520s. Swiss banks were notable for assuring anonymity and security by 1949. Swiss cheese is attested from 1808; as a type of something full of holes, from 1924.
switch (n.) Look up switch at Dictionary.com
1590s, "slender riding whip," probably from a Flemish or Low German word akin to Middle Dutch swijch "bough, twig," or swutsche, variant of Low German zwukse "long thin stick, switch," from Germanic base *swih- (cognates: Old High German zwec "wooden peg," German Zweck "aim, design," originally "peg as a target," Zwick "wooden peg"), perhaps connected with PIE root *swei- (2) "to swing, bend, to turn."

The meaning "device for changing the direction of something or making or breaking a connection" is first recorded 1797. "The peg sense suits the mech(anical) applications" [Weekley], cognates: switchblade, and these senses in English may be a direct borrowing from those senses in Continental Germanic languages rather than a continuation of the "pliant wand" sense. The meaning "a change from one to another, a reversal, an exchange, a substitution" is first recorded 1920; extended form switcheroo is by 1933.
switch (v.) Look up switch at Dictionary.com
1610s, "to strike with a switch," from switch (n.). Related: Switched; switching. The meaning "turn (off or on) with a switch device" is first recorded 1853 of trains on tracks, 1881 of electricity, 1932 of radio or (later) television. Sense of "shift, divert" is from 1860. Meaning "to change one thing for another" is recorded from 1919. Switch-hitter is 1945 in baseball slang; 1956 in the sense of "bisexual person."
switchable (adj.) Look up switchable at Dictionary.com
1954, from switch (v.) + -able.
switchback (n.) Look up switchback at Dictionary.com
in reference to zig-zag railways, 1863, from switch (v.) + back (adv.). As an adjective from 1873.
switchblade (n.) Look up switchblade at Dictionary.com
also switch-blade, type of folding pocket knife, 1932, from switch (n.) + blade. So called for the "switch" which is pressed to spring the knife open. Earlier a similar tool was known as an Arkansas toothpick (1837) and a clasp-knife (1755).
switchboard (n.) Look up switchboard at Dictionary.com
also switch-board, "device for making interchangeable connections between many circuits," 1867, from switch (n.) + board (n.1).
Switzerland Look up Switzerland at Dictionary.com
named for Schwyz, one of its original cantons. On postage stamps, etc., identified by the Roman name for the region, Helvetia, to avoid having to print the four different forms of the name in the country’s four official languages: Suisse, Schweiz, Svizzera, Svizra.