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I'll swing for you

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on April 06, 2010 at 18:24

In Reply to: I'll swing for you posted by David FG on April 06, 2010 at 17:14:

: : The saying "I'll swing for you"! to most people The saying "I'll swing for you"! to most people The saying "I'll swing for you"! to most people I have asked recently what it means, their reply is usually "it means to swing a punch at someone, though I feel it may have deeper origins back to times when the gallows were in use and the term "I'll swing for you" or "I'll swing for him/them" meant someone saying it would be basically meaning, I'll kill him/her/them and I don't care about the consequences, even swinging at the end of the hangmans rope at the gallows. I wonder if anyone has any information on this, many thanks.

: It's the latter. It means 'I will kill you and take the consequences (the gallows).'


Seconded. "Swing" meaning "suffer death by hanging" has been in regular colloquial use in Britain since the mid-16th century until the abolition of capital punishment, and "swing for [a crime]" and "swing for [someone]" were commonplace. One of the quotations give by the OED is (from 1884): "I don't wish any man to swing for me - I have always disapproved of the death-penalty."
("Swing for you" is actually ambiguous; it can mean, depending on context, "kill you and be hanged for it", or "kill someone for your sake and be hanged for it".) (VSD)