First Name
in the U.S.
since 1880
Last Name
in the U.S.
in 2010
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How to Pronounce Swan

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Meaning and Origin

What does the name Swan mean? Find out below.

Origin and Meaning of Swan

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User Submitted Meanings

  • According to a user from United Kingdom, the name Swan is of Swedish origin and means "Elegant bird farmer".
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International Interest
Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
noun Swan
  1. [Zoöl] Any one of numerous species of large aquatic birds belonging to Cygnus Olor, and allied genera of the subfamily Cygninæ. They have a large and strong beak and a long neck, and are noted for their graceful movements when swimming. Most of the northern species are white. In literature the swan was fabled to sing a melodious song, especially at the time of its death.
  2. Fig.: An appellation for a sweet singer, or a poet noted for grace and melody; as Shakespeare is called the swan of Avon.
  3. [Astron] The constellation Cygnus.

Note: ☞ The European white, or mute, swan (Cygnus gibbus), which is most commonly domesticated, bends its neck in an S-shaped curve. The whistling, or trumpeting, swans of the genus Olor do not bend the neck in an S-shaped curve, and are noted for their loud and sonorous cry, due to complex convolutions of the windpipe. To this genus belong the European whooper, or whistling swan (Olor cygnus), the American whistling swan (O. Columbianus), and the trumpeter swan (O. buccinator). The Australian black swan (Chenopis atrata) is dull black with white on the wings, and has the bill carmine, crossed with a white band. It is a very graceful species and is often domesticated. The South American black-necked swan (Sthenelides melancorypha) is a very beautiful and graceful species, entirely white, except the head and neck, which are dark velvety seal-brown. Its bill has a double bright rose-colored knob.

Etymology: AS. swan; akin to D. zwaan, OHG. swan, G. schwan, Icel. svanr, Sw. svan, Dan. svane; and perhaps to E. sound something audible

Other Dictionary Sources
  1. Stately heavy-bodied aquatic bird with very long neck and usually white plumage as adult
  2. To declare or affirm solemnly and formally as true
  3. Sweep majestically ("Airplanes were swanning over the mountains")
  4. Move about aimlessly or without any destination, often in search of food or employment

From Old English swan, from Proto-Germanic *swanaz. Cognate with West Frisian swan, Low German Swaan, swan, Dutch zwaan, German Schwan, Norwegian svane, Swedish svan, probably literally “the singing bird”, from a Proto-Indo-European *swon-/*swen- (“to sing, make sound”). Related to Old English geswin (“melody, song”) and swinsian (“to make melody”). Compare Latin sonus (“sound”) and Russian звон (zvon, “ringing”) and звук (zvuk, “sound”).

  1. Any of various species of large, long-necked waterfowl, of genus Cygnus, most of which have white plumage.
  2. (figuratively) One whose grace etc. suggests a swan.
  3. (heraldry) This bird used as a heraldic charge, sometimes with a crown around its neck (e. g. the arms of Buckinghamshire).

Probably from dialectal I s’wan, contraction of “I shall warrant”; later seen as a minced form of I swear.

    swan was also found in the following language(s): Old English and West Frisian

    Notable Persons Named Swan

    Swan was born on October 7th, 1860. He breathed his last breath on May 17th, 1933.


    Swan Htet Aung is an athlete for the Yangon United F.C.


    Notable Persons With the Last Name Swan

    Serinda Swan is an actress. Her most notable accomplishments were from 2005 to present. Serinda was born Serinda Swan on July 11th, 1984 in West Vancouver.


    Jimmy Barnes is a hard rock, blues-rock, soul, rhythm, blues, and blues rock musician. His ongoing career started in 1973. Jimmy was given the name James Dixon Swan on April 28th, 1956 in Glasgow.


    Emma Swan is a sheriff, bail bondsman, and dark lord (fiction).


    Sir Joseph Swan was a scientist in the fields of physics and chemistry. Joseph was given the name Joseph Wilson Swan on October 31st, 1828 in England. He breathed his last breath on May 27th, 1914.


    Anna was given the name Anna Haining Swan on August 6th, 1846 in Mill Brook, New Annan, Canada. She passed away on August 5th, 1888.


    Where is the name Swan popular?

    International Interest for Swan

    Interest is based how many people viewed this name from each country and is scaled based on the total views by each country so that large countries do not always show the most interest. Darker blue on the map indicates that people in the country are more likely to search for this name.

    Longer bars in the bar graph indicate that people in the country are more interested in the name. Not all countries that have shown an interest in the name are listed in the bar graph.

    United States
    United Kingdom
    South Korea

    Popularity in the US

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    Popularity of Swan as a last name

    The map shows the relative popularity of the name Swan as a last name in each of the states. See other popular names in Alaska, Maine, or Montana.

    Common last names for Swan

    • Swanson
    • Johnson
    • Anderson
    • Carlson
    • Olson
    • Nelson
    • Peterson
    • Erickson
    • Pearson
    • Larson
    • Benson
    • Gustafson
    • Hanson

    Ethnicity Distribution

    Ethnicity Swan U.S.
      White 79.17% 64.26%
      African American 12.91% 11.96%
      Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander 0.92% 4.85%
      American Indian and Alaska Native 2.19% 0.69%
      Two or More Ethnicities 2.39% 1.76%
      Hispanic or Latino 2.43% 16.26%

    Of Last Name Swan

    People with the last name Swan are most frequently White or African American

    Entire United States

    Fun Facts about the name Swan

    • How Popular is the name Swan? Swan is the 27,051st most popular name of all time. As a last name Swan was the 1,564th most popular name in 2010.
    • How many people with the first name Swan have been born in the United States? From 1880 to 2017, the Social Security Administration has recorded 197 babies born with the first name Swan in the United States. That's more than enough people named Swan to occupy the territory of Pitcairn Islands (United Kingdom) with an estimated population of 66 (as of July 1, 2008).
    • What year were 5 or more babies first named Swan? The name was first given to 5 or more babies in the year 1889 when it was given as a first name to 5 new born babies.
    • When was Swan first recorded in the United States? The oldest recorded birth by the Social Security Administration for the first name Swan is Wednesday, November 11th, 1868.
    • What year had the most people named Swan born? The highest recorded use of the first name Swan was in 1925 with a total of 11 babies.
    • Random Swan Factoid: According to the 1921 U.S. Social Security Administration data, the first name Swan is not a popular baby boy's name in Tennessee. Imagine that, only 6 babies in Tennessee have the same name as you in 1921.
    • Weird things about the name Swan: Your name in reverse order is Naws. A random rearrangement of the letters in your name (anagram) will give Swan. How do you pronounce that?
    • How many people have the last name Swan? In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau surveyed 23,001 people with the last name Swan.
    • How likely are you to meet someone with the last name of Swan? If you manage to meet 100,000 people in your life, chances are that 8 of them will have Swan as their last name.

    What Swans Have Visited This Page?

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    Most Popular Names

    All Name Lists

    • Sources:
    • U.S. Census Bureau: Frequently Occurring Surnames from the Census 2000 (public domain).
    • U.S. Social Security Administration: Popular Baby Names, Death Master File (public domain).
    • 1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary via the Collaborative International Dictionary of English (License)
    • Other Dictionary Sources: WordNet 3.1 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University (License).
    • Wiktionary: Titles and License.
    • Notable persons via Wikipedia: Titles and License. Click each image for the attribution information.