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I'll swan

Posted by ESC on August 07, 2003

In Reply to: I'll swan posted by Duke on August 07, 2003

: Many years ago, I knew a lady who said this constantly in place of "Is that right?" Or "Really?" She would say "I'll swan." And her voice would inflect upwards when she said "swan." Any idea where it came from? I figured something to do with "Swannee River" or something.

I swan = I swear.

From the archives:

The Oxford English Dictionary has "swan" as a verb, labeled U.S. slang, derived probably (it says) from northern England dialectal "Is' wan," literally "I shall warrant" = I'll be bound; later taken as a mincing substitute for "swear." The first use in print recorded in the dictionary is from the year 1823.