type of migratory bird (family Hirundinidae), Old English swealwe "swallow," from Proto-Germanic *swalwon (source also of Old Saxon, Old Norse, Old Frisian, Swedish svala, Danish svale, Middle Dutch zwalewe, Dutch zwaluw, Old High German swalawa, German Schwalbe), from PIE *swol-wi- (source also of Russian solowej, Slovak slavik, Polish słowik "nightingale").
The etymological sense is disputed. Popularly regarded as harbingers of summer; swallows building nests on or near a house is considered good luck. The Latin name was hirundo, hence the genus name. Some sources propose an onomatopoeic origin, which de Vaan finds "possible, but the suffix remains unclear;" he suggests as more likely the suggestion that the swallow is named for its forked tail, which could connect it with wand (n.), but this is just a guess.