A large, usually white bird with a long neck that lives on rivers and lakes (family Anatidae, especially genus Cygnus).
M.E., from O.E. swan; cf. O.S. swan, O.N. svanr, M.Du. swane, Du. zwaan, O.H.G. swan, Ger. Schwan, probably literally "the singing bird," from PIE base *swon-/*swen- "to sing, make sound."
Qu "swan," maybe an onomatopoetic word from the sound of swan's call; cf. Russ. ky-ky "cry of a swan."
Fr.: bande de Swan
One of the three prominent bands in the spectra of comets and carbon stars caused by diatomic carbon (C2).
Named after the Scottish physicist William Swan (1818-1894) who first studied the spectral analysis of radical carbon C2 in 1856; → band.
Fr.: nébuleuse du Cygne
Same as → Omega Nebula.