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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 2001 (DOST Vol. X).
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Swingeo(u)r, Swenȝour, n. Also: swinȝeour, swingour, -er(e, swyngeo(u)r, swyngour, -er, suinge(o)r, swengeour, swenger, sweingeour, sweyngeour, sueinscheor, swongeour, swonjour, swounger, swng(e)our, soingour, sumgeour, schonger. [? Early Flem. swentsen to roam, e.m.Germ. schwänzer an unemployed person, an idler, f. schwänzen to go about (aimlessly), travel. Also in the later dial. Cf., however, Swing v. 5.] An idler or layabout; a disreputable ruffian or scoundrel.(a) c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) lxxxii 44.
Ȝour burgh of beggeris is ane nest, To schout thai swenȝouris will nocht rest
1513 Doug. viii Prol. 171.
Swevynnys ar for swengeouris [Ruddim. swevyngeouris] that slummyrris nocht weill
(b) 1513 Doug. viii Prol. 68.
Swengeouris and scurryvagis, swankeis and swanys, Gevis no cur to cun craft
1528 Lynd. Dreme 962.
In to the hieland I could fynd no remeid; … Tha sweir swyngeoris thay tuke of me non heid
1535 Stewart 43472.
Brokin men that hereit, reft and staw, And murdereris … And sueir swyngeouris that haue [na] will to wirk
1540 Lynd. Sat. 2162.
I marvell not … Suppois that swyngeour [sc. the Soutar] nevir swyve; He is baith cawld & dry
a1585 Polwart Flyt. 786 (T).
Swinȝeour [H. swingeor]
a1585 Polwart Flyt. 229 (H).
Sir Suingeor, seing I want wairres And salues, to slaik thé of thy saires
1608 Stirling B. Rec. I 120.
Dispersoning of Johnne Scherare … in calling him base borne swyngour
1638 J. Row Red-Shankes Serm. 5.
(c) 1567 Sempill in Sat. P. viii 31.
Sweingeour, cum, sweir the saikles sone
1627 Elgin Kirk S. 203.
Robert Chamber said Androw Man was lyker a theiffis geit then get a blind sueinscheor
(d) 1600 Crim. Trials II 314.
If I were charged by any such devilish devices, I wold refuse no deboshed swinger or bloody villaine that should be so suborned
1605 Aberd. B. Rec. II 277.
Be injuring, calling him swynger, knawe
1640 T. Hope Diary 115.
That swinger the thesaurer hes so columniat the haill estates to his majestie, that [etc.]
1644 Falkirk Baron Ct. 29 Oct.
Harie Rankeine come fra a stak with a fork to Robert Russell and … bad him away false suinger
?a1648 Polemo-Mid. 135.
1650 Culross I 245.
We had gotten a swinger set up in the pulpit now to raill on the people
a1651 Calderwood VII 539.
He called him knave and swinger
a1651 Calderwood VII 540.
‘Sweith away!’ said the bishop, as if he had been speaking to a dogge: ‘Pack, you swinger!’
1686 G. Stuart Joco-Ser. Disc. 28.
A swinger [marg. a bold insinuating sharper] won'd about the court A lown of very ill report … Knaw'n by the name of Ignoramus
(e) c1540 Glencairn in Knox I 73.
Sueir swongeouris that will not wirk
1613 Reg. Privy C. X 3.
1619 Elgin Rec. II 161.
Grand gorie lipper, swonjour, that thov art, I sall hawe a mendis of the ather by slicht or be micht
(f) 1606 Inverness Rec. II 40.
In calling of him kairle, soingour, knaiff and sneik
(g) 1619 Perth Kirk S. MS 31 Aug.
Scho said … that scho waild nocht haiff sick ane swngour as me to be hir bairnes father
(h) 1584 Cal. Sc. P. VII 227.
Thair is a heid of the Kirk maid … a excommunicat sumgeour, a excommunicat willane quha sall never be obeyit heir
(i) 1609 Reg. Privy C. VIII 787.
Upbraiding of the said baillie with mony injurious … speiches, calling him ‘skable and deboishit schonger’
attrib. 1541–2 Elgin Rec. I 68.
Johne Innes wrangit in the calling of Nicoll Moressone swenger carle and birsyn carle
a1568 Pedder C. 17.
Ane swyngeour coife amangis the wyvis, In land-wart dwellis with subteill menis

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"Swingeor n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 May 2024 <>



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