swan-upping

swan-upping

n
1. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) the practice or action of marking nicks in swans' beaks as a sign of ownership
2. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) the annual swan-upping of royal cygnets on the River Thames
[C16: from up (in the archaic sense: to catch and mark a swan)]
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References in periodicals archive ?
On his travels Martin also meets a snake charmer in Nepal, sees how bulbul songbirds are used in gambling and, back in Blighty, tries the 500-year-old activity of swan-upping.
On his travels, Martin also meets a snake charmer in Nepal, sees how bulbul songbirds are used in gambling and, back in Blighty, tries the 500-year-old activity of swan-upping.
The Swan with Two Necks comes from swan-upping on the Thames, when they put a couple of nicks in the beak to identify who the owner was.