The word swoon has been around as a word meaning "faint" at least since its earliest attestation in a 1290 hagiographic manuscript, but at that point it had the rather ugly spelling suoweningue. Other ways of writing it at the time included swoʒene, swowene, swoune, and swowne, but in the fifteenth century a new version started to emerge without that second approximant sound and in the nineteenth century the figurative, romantic definition came about. The word came about as the past participle of the Old English verb swogan, which could mean "to make a sound" or "suffocate", and that is from the Proto-Germanic root swogana, also "make a sound". Finally, that's of uncertain origin, but there are relatives in other Germanic languages meaning "sigh" and "choke", so they all have to do with noises.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.