Entries linking to unswayed
prefix of negation, Old English un-, from Proto-Germanic *un- (source also of Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Old High German, German un-, Gothic un-, Dutch on-), from PIE *n- (source of Sanskrit a-, an- "not," Greek a-, an-, Old Irish an-, Latin in-), combining form of PIE root *ne- "not." Often euphemistic (such as untruth for "lie").
The most prolific of English prefixes, freely and widely used in Old English, where it forms more than 1,000 compounds. It underwent a mass extinction in early Middle English, but emerged with renewed vigor 16c. to form compounds with native and imported words. It disputes with Latin-derived cognate in- (1) the right to form the negation of certain words (indigestable/undigestable, etc.), and though both might be deployed in cooperation to indicate shades of meaning (unfamous/infamous), typically they are not.
It also makes words from phrases (such as uncalled-for, c. 1600; undreamed-of, 1630s; uncome-at-able, 1690s; unputdownable, 1947, of a book; un-in-one-breath-utterable, Ben Jonson; etc., but the habit is not restricted to un-; such as put-up-able-with, 1812). As a prefix in telegramese to replace not and save the cost of a word, it is attested by 1936.
early 14c., "move, go, go quickly; move (something) along, carry," probably from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse sveigja "to bend, swing, give way," Old Danish svegja, perhaps merged with an unrecorded Old English cognate. The whole group might be related to swag (v.) and swing (v.).
The sense of "swing, waver, move in a swaying or sweeping motion" is from late 14c. Meaning "move from side to side" is from c. 1500; transitive sense "cause to move from side to side" is from 1550s (according to OED, not common before 19c.). Figurative sense "cause to be directed toward one side, prejudice" is from 1590s. Related: Swayed; swaying.
updated on March 02, 2014