Now I know what baby swans are called. I had to check. Cygnets. The word is diminutive of Old French ‘cigne’ which means ‘swan’. It comes from Latin ‘cycnus’ and from Greek ‘kyknos’. Who knew that looking at birds could end up in an etymology lesson? And furthermore, how could anyone call a cygnet an ugly duckling? They’re are the cutest, softest looking things I have ever seen.