Definition of the Swan of Avon from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


the Swan of Avon

; NAmE
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a nickname for William Shakespeare. It was invented by Ben Jonson in a poem he wrote in the First Folio. The phrase refers to the swans (= large white water birds with long necks) on the River Avon at Stratford, where Shakespeare was born, and also to the ancient Greek belief that the souls of poets pass into swans.