from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. An area cleared for temporary cultivation by cutting and burning the vegetation.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. an area of land that has been cleared by cutting the vegetation and burning it; slash and burn
- v. to clear an area of land by cutting and burning
Dialectal alteration of obsolete swithen, from Old Norse svidhna, to be burned.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English swithen ("to burn, scorch, singe"), from Old Norse svidhna ("to be burned"). (Wiktionary)