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swan

swan swans have numerous legendary associations, including the story in Irish mythology that the Children of Lir were changed into swans by enchantment, and the Finnish belief that the swan sings once before it dies. In classical mythology the swan was sacred to Apollo and to Venus (occasionally, as by Shakespeare, also ascribed to Juno).

In reference to its pure white plumage and graceful appearance, the swan is often taken as a type of faultlessness or excellence.

A swan is the emblem of St Hugh of Lincoln.
swan maiden in Norse and Germanic folk tales, a girl who has the power of transforming herself into a swan by means of a dress of swan's feathers or of a magic ring or chain.
Swan of Avon a name for Shakespeare, deriving from Ben Jonson's ‘Sweet Swan of Avon!’ in his poem ‘To the Memory of My Beloved, the Author, Mr William Shakespeare’ (1623).
swan-upping the action or practice of ‘upping’ or taking up swans and marking them with nicks on the beak in token of being owned by the crown or some corporation.

See also black swan, all one's geese are swans.

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swan

swan, common name for a large aquatic bird of both hemispheres, related to ducks and geese. It has a long, gracefully curved neck and an extremely long, convoluted trachea which makes possible its far-carrying calls. The orange-billed white trumpeter swan, Cygnus buccinator, seen in parks, is the mute swan, of Old World origin. It breeds in the wild state in parts of Europe, Asia, and the United States. During the breeding season it has a trumpetlike note, softer in the tame birds. The whistling swan migrates from the arctic to Mexico. Conservation measures saved the almost extinct trumpeter swan of North America, the largest species. Wild species in Europe include the whooper (or whooping) and the Bewick swans. The black swan, Chenopis atrata, is native to Australia, and the black-necked swan, Cygnus melancoriphus, to South America. The black swan has been domesticated. Swans are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Anseriformes, family Anatidae.

See study by P. Scott and the Wildfowl Trust (1972).

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swan

swan / swän/ • n. 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. • v. (swanned , swan·ning ) [intr.] inf. move about or go somewhere in a casual, relaxed way, typically perceived as irresponsible or ostentatious by others: swanning around in a $2,000 sharkskin suit doesn't make you a Renaissance prince. DERIVATIVES: swan·like / -ˌlīk/ adj.

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swan

swan Any of several species of graceful, white or black waterfowl that nest in n Northern Hemisphere and migrate s for winter. Three species, including the Australian Black swan, live in the Southern Hemisphere. Most have broad, flat bills, long necks, plump bodies, and dense plumage. They dip their heads under water to feed on plant matter. Length: to 2m (6.5ft). Family Anatidae; genus Cygnus.

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swan

swan OE. swan = OS. suan, OHG. swan (G. schwan), ON. svanr :- Gmc. *swanaz; perh. based on IE. *swon- *swen-, repr. by Skr. svaná noise, L. sonere, sonāre SOUND2. Comp. swan-upping taking up swans to mark them for ownership. XVI. upping f. up vb. drive up and catch swans; see -ING1.

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swans

swans See ANATIDAE.

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swan

swanaide-de-camp, aides-de-camp, anon, Asunción, au courant, begone, Bonn, bon vivant, Caen, Canton, Carcassonne, Ceylon, chaconne, chateaubriand, ci-devant, Colón, colon, Concepción, con (US conn), cretonne, don, Duchamp, Evonne, foregone, fromage blanc, Gabon, Garonne, gone, guenon, hereupon, Inchon, Jean, john, Jon, Le Mans, León, Luzon, Mont Blanc, Narbonne, odds-on, on, outgone, outshone, Perón, phon, piñon, Pinot Blanc, plafond, Ramón, Saigon, Saint-Saëns, Sand, Schwann, scone, shone, side-on, sine qua non, Sorbonne, spot-on, swan, thereon, thereupon, ton, Toulon, undergone, upon, Villon, wan, whereon, whereupon, won, wonton, yon, Yvonne •crayon, rayon •Leon, Lyons, neon, prion •Ceredigion • Mabinogion • nucleon •Amiens • dupion • parathion •Laocoon •gluon, Rouen •bon-bon • Audubon

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