Swash your buckle or Buckle your swash

  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I can hear a BE-speaker saying this (honestly).
    If you want to go buckling your swash or swashing your buckle or whatever you want to call it (= if you want to go acting like the big action hero) that's fine by me ~ I'll just sit here and carry on with my knitting.
    It's very tongue-in-cheek, though.


    New Member
    Thanks everyone.

    I know the meaning of Swashbuckler or Swashbuckling, but I read an interview of an actor.

    An interviewer asked,
    "You get to swash your buckle. Or is it buckle your swash?"

    then he replied,
    "I swash my buckle, I wave my sword. All that good stuff."

    I don't understand the difference between "swash your buckle" and "buckle your swash."
    Or no difference? Is it just a play on words?



    Senior Member
    English English
    Yes, it's just idle wordplay, based on the fact that despite everyone's knowing what swashbuckling means, nobody knows what it is literally. What is a swash? ~ no idea. How do you buckle one? ~ no idea. Maybe in fact you swash buckles ~ who knows?!

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    1560, "blustering, swaggering fighting man" (earlier simply swash, 1549), from swash "fall of a blow" (see swash) + buckler "shield." The original sense seems to have been "one who makes menacing noises by striking his or an opponent's shield." Swashbuckling (adj.) is attested from 1693.
    Online Etymology Dictionary
    This would suggest that the correct jocular expression would be to swash your buckler and that to buckle your swash is a terrible solecism, which all goes to show how careful one must be.


    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    TT, I suspect the actor in question is not too chagrined. He was speaking humorously, making light of the fact that no one really knows the etymology of "swashbuckling" or what a "swash" or a "buckle" is. (Though "buckler" is a term known by devotees of fantasy fiction or of role-playing games.)

    I imagine the actor was convinced that this represented quite clever wordplay.
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