Date: Tue, 8 Nov 1994 08:18:45 EST
From: David Muschell dmuschel[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]MAIL.GAC.PEACHNET.EDU
Subject: Re: 'swan' in TX, ARK
Has someone yet mentioned during this thread that the OED lists the verb as
derived from a 'prob. north. Eng. dial. I s'wan 'I shall warrant', i.e. 'I'll
be bound', and says it was later taken as (folk-etymologized to) a 'minicing
substitute for 'swear'. First citation is 1832. There's another slang verb,
also largely attested in 'exclamatory asseveration' (don't you just love
'em?), of the form 'swanny', derived by the OED from 'I shall warrant ye'.
Anybody ever heard that one? Prob'ly not, I swanny. (No relation to the
"Swanny" River, I don't guess.)
Good job! And quick on the draw, pardner...Old Stevie Foster misused the
name of the Suwanee River in his "Old Folks at Home," calling it Swanee.
Of course, he never even saw the river, which originally was called the
"river of reeds" by the natives (Guasaca Esqui [source: Britannica]). The
same source says that the present name was probably a slave version of a
Spanish name: San Juanee (Little St. John). I'm sure our Waycross
correspondant can add more, I swanny.