swivel (n.) Look up swivel at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, "coupling device that allows independent rotation," from frequentative form of stem of Old English verb swifan "to move in a course, revolve, sweep" (a class I strong verb), from Proto-Germanic *swif- (cognates: Old Frisian swiva "to be uncertain," Old Norse svifa "to rove, ramble, drift"), from PIE root *swei- (2) "to turn, bend, move in a sweeping manner."

Related Middle English swive was the principal slang verb for "to have sexual intercourse with," a sense that developed c. 1300. This probably explains why, though the root is verbal, the verb swivel is not attested in Modern English until 1794. Compare Middle English phrase smal-swivinge men "men who copulate infrequently."
swivel (v.) Look up swivel at Dictionary.com
1794 (transitive), from swivel (n.). Intransitive use from 1846. Related: Swiveled; swiveling; swivelled; swivelling.
swivet (n.) Look up swivet at Dictionary.com
"a fluster," 1867, U.S. dialect, of unknown origin.
swizzle (n.) Look up swizzle at Dictionary.com
1813, name for various kinds of liquor drinks, or for intoxicating drinks generally, possibly a variant of switchel "a drink of molasses and water" (often mixed with rum), first attested 1790, of uncertain origin. As a verb from 1843. Related: Swizzled; swizzling. Swizzle-stick, used for stirring drinks, attested by 1859.
swollen (adj.) Look up swollen at Dictionary.com
early 14c., past participle adjective from strong conjugation of swell (v.); from Old English geswollen, past participle of swellan.
swoon (n.) Look up swoon at Dictionary.com
c. 1300, suowne, suun, "state of unconsciousness," probably from Old English geswogen "in a faint," past participle of a lost verb *swogan (see swoon (v.)).
swoon (v.) Look up swoon at Dictionary.com
c. 1200, "to become unconscious," probably from a lost Old English verb *swogan (as in Old English aswogan "to choke"), of uncertain origin. Compare Low German swogen "to sigh." Related: Swooned; swooning.
swoop (v.) Look up swoop at Dictionary.com
1560s, "to move or walk in a stately manner," apparently from a dialectal survival of Old English swapan "to sweep, brandish, dash," from Proto-Germanic *swaip-, from PIE root *swei- (2) "to bend, turn" (see swivel (n.)). Meaning "pounce upon with a sweeping movement" first recorded 1630s (see swoop (n.)). Spelling with -oo- may have been influenced by Scottish and northern England dialectal soop "to sweep," from Old Norse sopa "to sweep." Related: Swooped; swooping.
swoop (n.) Look up swoop at Dictionary.com
1540s, "a blow, stroke," from swoop (v.). Meaning "the sudden pouncing of a rapacious bird on its prey" is 1605, from Shakespeare:
Oh, Hell-Kite! All? What, All my pretty Chickens, and their Damme, At one fell swoope? ["Macbeth," IV.iii.219]
swoosh (n.) Look up swoosh at Dictionary.com
1860, sound made by something (originally a fishing rod during a cast) moving rapidly through the air; imitative. As a verb from 1867. The Nike corporate logo so called from 1989.
sword (n.) Look up sword at Dictionary.com
Old English sweord, swyrd (West Saxon), sword (Northumbrian) "sword," from Proto-Germanic *swerdam (cognates: Old Saxon, Old Frisian swerd, Old Norse sverð, Swedish svärd, Middle Dutch swaert, Dutch zwaard, Old High German swert, German Schwert "a sword"), related to Old High German sweran "to hurt," from *swertha-, literally "the cutting weapon," from PIE root *swer- (3) "to cut, pierce."

Contrast with plowshare is from the Old Testament (Isaiah ii:4, Micah iv:3). Phrase put (originally do) to the sword "kill, slaughter" is recorded from mid-14c. An older Germanic word for it is in Old Saxon heoru, Gothic hairus "a sword."
sword-belt (n.) Look up sword-belt at Dictionary.com
early 14c., from sword + belt (n.). Old English had sweordfætels "sword-belt."
swordfish (n.) Look up swordfish at Dictionary.com
late 15c., swerdfysche (in a recipe), from sword + fish (n.). So called for its elongated upper jaw.
swordplay (n.) Look up swordplay at Dictionary.com
also sword-play, Old English sweordplege; see sword + play (n.).
swordsman (n.) Look up swordsman at Dictionary.com
1670s, from sword + genitive -s- + man (n.). Earlier was swordman (late 14c.); Old English had sweordfreca in the same sense. Related: Swordsmanship (1765).
sworn Look up sworn at Dictionary.com
past participle of swear; sworn enemies, those who have taken a vow of mutual hatred, is from c. 1600.
swum Look up swum at Dictionary.com
past participle and sometimes past tense of swim (v.).
swung Look up swung at Dictionary.com
past participle of swing (v.).
sy- Look up sy- at Dictionary.com
form of syn- before -s- or -z-.
sybarite (n.) Look up sybarite at Dictionary.com
"person devoted to pleasure," 1590s, literally "inhabitant of Sybaris," ancient Greek town in southern Italy, whose people were noted for their love of luxury. From Latin Sybarita, from Greek Sybarites.
sybaritic (adj.) Look up sybaritic at Dictionary.com
1610s, from Latin sybariticus, from Greek sybaritikos, from Sybarites (see sybarite).
sycamore (n.) Look up sycamore at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., sicamour "mulberry-leaved fig tree," from Old French sicamor, sagremore, from Latin sycomorus, from Greek sykomoros "African fig-tree," literally "fig-mulberry," from sykon "fig" (see fig) + moron (see mulberry). But according to many sources this is more likely a folk-etymology of Hebrew shiqmah "mulberry."

A Biblical word, originally used for a wide-spreading shade tree with fig-like fruit (Ficus sycomorus) common in Egypt, Palestine, Syria, etc., whose leaves somewhat resemble those of the mulberry; applied in English from 1580s to a large species of European maple (also plane-tree), perhaps because both it and the Biblical tree were notable for their shadiness (the Holy Family took refuge under a sycamore on the flight to Egypt), and from 1814 to the North American shade tree that also is called a buttonwood, which was introduced to Europe from Virginia 1637 by Filius Tradescant).

Spelling apparently influenced by sycamine "black mulberry tree," which is from Greek sykcaminos, which also is mentioned in the Bible (Luke xvii:6). For the sake of clarity, some writers have used the more Hellenic sycomore in reference to the Biblical tree.
sycophancy (n.) Look up sycophancy at Dictionary.com
1620s, from sycophant + -cy, or else from Latin sycophantia, from Greek sykophantia "false accusation, slander; conduct of a sycophant," from sykophantes.
sycophant (n.) Look up sycophant at Dictionary.com
1530s (in Latin form sycophanta), "informer, talebearer, slanderer," from Middle French sycophante and directly from Latin sycophanta, from Greek sykophantes "false accuser, slanderer," literally "one who shows the fig," from sykon "fig" (see fig) + phainein "to show" (see phantasm). "Showing the fig" was a vulgar gesture made by sticking the thumb between two fingers, a display which vaguely resembles a fig, itself symbolic of a vagina (sykon also meant "vulva"). The modern accepted explanation is that prominent politicians in ancient Greece held aloof from such inflammatory gestures, but privately urged their followers to taunt their opponents. The sense of "mean, servile flatterer" is first recorded in English 1570s.
The explanation, long current, that it orig. meant an informer against the unlawful exportation of figs cannot be substantiated. [OED]
sycophantic (adj.) Look up sycophantic at Dictionary.com
1670s, from Greek sykophantikos, from sykophantes (see sycophant). Related: Sycophantical (1560s).
Sydney Look up Sydney at Dictionary.com
Australian city, founded 1788 and named for British Home Secretary Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney (1733-1800). The family name (also Sidney) is literally "dweller by the well-watered land," from Old English sid "side" + ieg "island."
syl- Look up syl- at Dictionary.com
assimilated form of Greek syn- before -l-.
syllabic (adj.) Look up syllabic at Dictionary.com
1728, from Modern Latin syllabicus, from Greek syllabikos "of or pertaining to a syllable," from syllabe "a syllable" (see syllable). Related: Syllabical (1520s).
syllable (n.) Look up syllable at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Anglo-French sillable, alteration of Old French silabe "syllable" (12c., Modern French syllabe), from Latin syllaba, from Greek syllabe "that which is held together; a syllable, several sounds or letters taken together," i.e. "a taking together" of letters; from syllambanein "take or put together, collect, gather," from assimilated form of syn- "together" (see syn-) + stem of lambanein "to take" (see analemma). The unetymological -le apparently is by analogy with participle and principle.
syllabus (n.) Look up syllabus at Dictionary.com
1650s, "table of contents of a series of lectures, etc.," from Late Latin syllabus "list," ultimately a misreading of Greek sittybos "parchment label, table of contents," of unknown origin. The misprint appeared in a 15c. edition of Cicero's "Ad Atticum" (see OED). Had it been a real word, the proper plural would be syllabi.
syllepsis (n.) Look up syllepsis at Dictionary.com
use of a word at once in both a literal and metaphoric sense, 1570s, from Late Latin syllepsis, from assimilated form of Greek syn "together" (see syn-) + lepsis "a taking," related to lambanein (see analemma). Related: Sylleptic.
syllogism (n.) Look up syllogism at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Old French silogisme "a syllogism, scholastic argument based on a formula or proof" (13c., Modern French syllogisme), from Latin syllogismus, from Greek syllogismos "a syllogism," originally "inference, conclusion; computation, calculation," from syllogizesthai "bring together before the mind, compute, conclude," literally "think together," from assimilated form of syn- "together" (see syn-) + logizesthai "to reason, count," from logos "a reckoning, reason" (see logos).
syllogistic (adj.) Look up syllogistic at Dictionary.com
1660s, from Latin syllogisticus or directly from Greek syllogistikos, from syllogizesthai (see syllogism).
sylph (n.) Look up sylph at Dictionary.com
1650s, "air-spirit," from Modern Latin sylphes (plural), coined 16c. by Paracelsus (1493-1541), originally referring to any race of spirits inhabiting the air, described as being mortal but lacking a soul. Paracelsus' word seems to be an arbitrary coinage, but perhaps it holds a suggestion of Latin silva and Greek nymph, or Greek silphe "a kind of beetle," but French etymologists propose a Gaulish origin. The Century Dictionary comments that, "to occultists and quacks like Paracelsus words spelled with -y- look more Greek and convincing." The meaning "graceful girl" first recorded 1838, on the notion of "slender figure and light, airy movement" [OED].
sylphid (n.) Look up sylphid at Dictionary.com
younger or smaller variety of sylph, 1670s, from French sylphide (1670s), from sylphe (see sylph) + diminutive suffix.
sylvan (adj.) Look up sylvan at Dictionary.com
"of the woods," 1570s, from Middle French sylvain (1530s), from Latin silvanus "pertaining to wood or forest" (originally only in silvanae "goddesses of the woods"), from silva "wood, woodland, forest, orchard, grove," of unknown origin. The unetymological -y- is a misspelling in Latin from influence of Greek hyle "forest," from which the Latin word formerly was supposed to derive.
Sylvanus Look up Sylvanus at Dictionary.com
Roman deity, from Latin Silvanus, used by the Romans as the proper name of a god of woods and fields, identified with Pan, noun use of adjective, literally "pertaining to woods or forest" (see sylvan).
Sylvester Look up Sylvester at Dictionary.com
masc. proper name, from Latin silvestris, literally "of a wood, of a forest, woody, rural, pastoral," from silva "wood, forest" (see sylvan). St. Sylvester's Day is Dec. 31.
Sylvia Look up Sylvia at Dictionary.com
fem. proper name, literally "inhabiting woods," from Latin silva "wood, forest" (see sylvan). Also the genus name of warblers, hence adjective Sylvian.
sym- Look up sym- at Dictionary.com
assimilated form of syn-, from Greek form of syn- in compounds with words beginning in -b-, -m-, -p-, -ph-, -ps-.
Symbionese (adj.) Look up Symbionese at Dictionary.com
in Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), name adopted by a socialist revolutionary group active in U.S. 1972-76, coined from simbion "an organism living in symbiosis, from symbioun (see symbiosis) + people-name ending -ese.
symbiosis (n.) Look up symbiosis at Dictionary.com
1876, as a biological term, "union for life of two different organisms based on mutually benefit," from Greek symbiosis "a living together," from symbioun "live together," from symbios "(one) living together (with another), partner, companion, husband or wife," from assimilated form of syn- "together" (see syn-) + bios "life" (see bio-). Given a wider (non-biological) sense by 1921. An earlier sense of "communal or social life" is found in 1620s. A back-formed verb symbiose is recorded from 1960.
symbiotic (adj.) Look up symbiotic at Dictionary.com
1882, in biology, from stem of symbiosis + -ic. Of human activities from 1951. Related: Symbiotical; symbiotically.
symbol (n.) Look up symbol at Dictionary.com
early 15c., "creed, summary, religious belief," from Late Latin symbolum "creed, token, mark," from Greek symbolon "token, watchword, sign by which one infers; ticket, a permit, license" (the word was applied c.250 by Cyprian of Carthage to the Apostles' Creed, on the notion of the "mark" that distinguishes Christians from pagans), literally "that which is thrown or cast together," from assimilated form of syn- "together" (see syn-) + bole "a throwing, a casting, the stroke of a missile, bolt, beam," from bol-, nominative stem of ballein "to throw" (see ballistics).

The sense evolution in Greek is from "throwing things together" to "contrasting" to "comparing" to "token used in comparisons to determine if something is genuine." Hence, "outward sign" of something. The meaning "something which stands for something else" first recorded 1590 (in "Faerie Queene"). As a written character, 1610s.
symbolic (adj.) Look up symbolic at Dictionary.com
1650s, from symbol + -ic, or from Greek symbolikos. Related: Symbolical (c. 1600); symbolically.
symbolise (v.) Look up symbolise at Dictionary.com
chiefly British English spelling of symbolize. For suffix, see -ize. Related: Symbolised; symbolising; symbolisation.
symbolism (n.) Look up symbolism at Dictionary.com
1650s, "practice of representing things with symbols," from symbol + -ism. Applied to the arts by 1866; attested from 1892 as a movement in French literature, from French symbolisme (see symbolist).
symbolist (n.) Look up symbolist at Dictionary.com
1580s, from symbol + -ist. From 1888 in reference to a literary movement that aimed at representing ideas and emotions by indirect suggestion rather than direct expression, from French symboliste, coined 1885 by poet Paul Verlaine (1844-1896). Rejecting realism and naturalism, they attached symbolic meaning to certain objects, words, etc.
symbolization (n.) Look up symbolization at Dictionary.com
c. 1600, from French symbolisation, from symboliser (see symbolize).
symbolize (v.) Look up symbolize at Dictionary.com
c. 1600, "represent by a symbol," also "be a symbol of," from French symboliser, from symbole (see symbol). Related: Symbolized; symbolizes; symbolizing.