\ \ [16] Old English sweart meant ‘black’.
\ \ It came from a prehistoric Germanic *swartaz, which also produced German schwarz, Dutch zwart, Swedish svart, and Danish sort, and may go back ultimately to the same Indo-European base as gave Latin sordidusdirty’ (source of English sordid [16]). It survives, just, in modern English as swartdark, black’. From this in the 16th century was derived the now defunct swarty, of which swarthy is an unexplained variant.

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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  • Swarthy — Swarth y, a. [Compar. {Swarthier}; superl. {Swarthiest}.] [See {Swart}, a.] Being of a dark hue or dusky complexion; tawny; swart; as, swarthy faces. A swarthy Ethiope. Shak. [1913 Webster] Their swarthy hosts would darken all our plains. Addison …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Swarthy — Swarth y, v. t. To make swarthy. [Obs.] Cowley. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • swarthy — 1580s, unexplained alteration of swarty (1570s), from SWART (Cf. swart) + Y (Cf. y) (2) …   Etymology dictionary

  • swarthy — [adj] dark complexioned black, brown, brunet, dark, dark hued, darkish, dark skinned, dusky, swart, tan, tawny; concept 618 Ant. blonde, fair, light, pale …   New thesaurus

  • swarthy — ► ADJECTIVE (swarthier, swarthiest) ▪ dark complexioned. DERIVATIVES swarthiness noun. ORIGIN from obsolete swarty, from Old English …   English terms dictionary

  • swarthy — [swôr′thē, swôr′thē] adj. swarthier, swarthiest [< dial. swarth, var. of SWART + Y3] having a dark complexion SYN. DUSKY swarthily adv. swarthiness n …   English World dictionary

  • swarthy — swar|thy [ˈswo:ði US o:r ] adj [Date: 1500 1600; Origin: swarty swarthy (16 19 centuries), from swart dark, swarthy (11 20 centuries), from Old English sweart] someone who is swarthy has dark skin ▪ a small, swarthy man ▪ a swarthy complexion …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • swarthy — UK [ˈswɔː(r)ðɪ] / US [ˈswɔrðɪ] adjective Word forms swarthy : adjective swarthy comparative swarthier superlative swarthiest mainly literary someone who is swarthy has dark skin …   English dictionary

  • swarthy — [[t]swɔ͟ː(r)ði[/t]] ADJ GRADED A swarthy person has a dark face. He had a broad swarthy face …   English dictionary

  • swarthy — adj. Swarthy is used with these nouns: ↑complexion …   Collocations dictionary

  • swarthy — swarth|y [ swɔrði ] adjective MAINLY LITERARY someone who is swarthy has dark skin …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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