Word of the Day: Swive

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Word of the Day: Swive

Definition: to copulate (archaic)

At one point, I’ve read, swive was the most offensive word in English.

But regardless, it was employed in the late 14th Century by Geoffrey Chaucer (often referred to as the Father of Modern English) in The Miller’s Tale:

And every wight gan laughen at his strife.

Thus swived was the carpentere’s wife…

So literary greatness and bawdy language do mix, it would seem.

Swīfan (meaning to move, sweep or revolve) the Old English word it evolved from is also the word which begat (keeping with the archaic copulation theme) 2 modern, seemingly innocuous words: swift, and swivel—there’s possibly one of these in the chair you’re sitting in now.

In other news, Puritans—the people who had had enough of the ‘debauchery’ in England, and sailed off to start a new life in America (not for freedom of religious persecution, but so they were free to persecute anyone who wasn’t a Puritan)—drank a lot of beer.

By | 2016-05-03T07:57:49+00:00 January 6th, 2016|Etymology, WOTD|0 Comments

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Writer, editor, musician, plain English evangelist, content ninja for hire, and general web guy, Rory does lots of things, when he has time…

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