v. (pres. 3 sg.)



(Modern English )


Usually compared with Norw dial sveifa 'to hover, swing' (and further instances of the root in OIcel sveif 'tiller' and sveifla 'to swing' (cp. EFris sweifeln 'to sway' and OHG sweibeln)), on the basis of which ON *sveifa is usually reconstructed (ult. < the root of PGmc *swīfan-, cp. OIcel svífa 'rove, turn, drift', OE swīfan 'revolve, sweep, wend', OFris (pres.) swīva 'to be uncertain', MHG (past sg.) sweif 'to swing'). See also swayf (n.).

PGmc Ancestor


Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

cp. sveif 'tiller'
(ONP cp. sveif (sb.))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

Norw dial sveifa

OE Cognate

Phonological and morphological markers

ON /ei/ &lt; PGmc */ai/

Summary category



The only other plausible occurrence of this v. in ME is a variant MS reading from PP (c1400(c1378) PPl.B (LdMisc 581)). MnE dial swave 'to cause to swing round; wave' is recorded from Cum. in the 19c. (EDD, OED). See also swayf (n.).

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Pat 253

The MS reading of the v. at the start of Cl 222 is most likely <sweued> (see Olsen, Vant apparatus) and, as Menner (416) notes, should not be identified with this v. (as MED does).


MED sweiven (v.) , OED swayve (v.) , HTOED , EDD swave (v.), Bj. 49, de Vries sveif, Orel *swaiflōjanan, *swīfanan-, Kroonen *swīban-, Seebold sweif-a-, Falk-Torp Sveiv