Buckling swashes

In one of the books I read recently quite a few swashes were buckled, and this got me wondering what exactly was a swash and who you would go about buckling one.

A swashbuckler (/ˈswɒʃˌbʌklə(r)/) is a swaggering bravo or ruffian, or a noisy braggadocio, and first appeared in writing in 1560, according to the OED. It is a combination of two words, swash and buckler:

swash, v. /swɒʃ/
– to dash or cast violently.
– to make a noise as of swords clashing or of a sword beating on a shield; to fence with swords; to bluster with or as with weapons; to lash out; hence, to swagger.
– to dash or splash (water) about; to dash water upon, souse with water or liquid; (of water) to beat with a splash against.

Etymology: imitative of the sound of splashing or agitated water, or of a resounding blow
[source]

buckler, n. /ˈbʌklə(r)/
– a small round shield
– a means of defence; protection, protector.

Etymology: from the Old French boucler, bucler, from the Latin *bucculārius (having a boss) from buccula (visor).
[source].

So now we know. Are there interesting equivalents of swashbuckler in other languages?

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This entry was posted in English, Etymology, Language, Words and phrases.

2 Responses to Buckling swashes

  1. Andrew says:

    Is it interesting that in the story you read buckle is the verb and swash the noun, whereas in the word components it is swash that is the verb and buckler the noun?

  2. Simon says:

    Swashbuckling seems to me that it involves buckling swashes rather than swashing buckles, and that a swashbuckler sounds like someone who buckles swashes. The book analysed the words in a similar way.