Etymology: Middle English, to beat, fling, hurl, rush, from Old English swingan to beat, fling oneself, rush; akin to Old High German swingan to fling, rush
Date: 13th century
a. to cause to move vigorously through a wide arc or circle <swing an ax> b. to cause to sway to and fro c. (1) to cause to turn on an axis (2) to cause to face or move in another direction <swing the car into a side road> 2. to suspend so as to permit swaying or turning 3. to convey by suspension <cranes swinging cargo into the ship's hold> 4. a. (1) to influence decisively <swing a lot of votes> (2) to bring around by influence b. to handle successfully ; manage <wasn't able to swing a new car on his income> <swing a deal> 5. to play or sing (as a melody) in the style of swing music intransitive verb 1. to move freely to and fro especially in suspension from an overhead support 2. a. to die by hanging b. to hang freely from a support 3. to move in or describe a circle or arc: a. to turn on a hinge or pivot b. to turn in place c. to convey oneself by grasping a fixed support <swing aboard the train> 4. a. to have a steady pulsing rhythm b. to play or sing with a lively compelling rhythm; specifically to play swing music 5. to shift or fluctuate from one condition, form, position, or object of attention or favor to another <swing constantly from optimism to pessimism and back — Sinclair Lewis> 6. a. to move along rhythmically b. to start up in a smooth vigorous manner <ready to swing into action> 7. to hit or aim at something with a sweeping arm movement 8. a. to be lively, exciting, and up-to-date b. to engage freely in sex Synonyms: swing, wave, flourish, brandish, thrash mean to wield or cause to move to and fro or up and down. swing implies regular or uniform movement <swing the rope back and forth>. wave usually implies smooth or continuous motion <waving the flag>. flourish suggests vigorous, ostentatious, graceful movement <flourished the winning lottery ticket>. brandish implies threatening or menacing motion <brandishing a knife>. thrash suggests vigorous, abrupt, violent movement <an infant thrashing his arms about>. Synonyms: swing, sway, oscillate, vibrate, fluctuate, waver, undulate mean to move from one direction to its opposite. swing implies a movement of something attached at one end or one side <the door suddenly swung open>. sway implies a slow swinging or teetering movement <trees swaying in the breeze>. oscillate stresses a usually regular alternation of direction <an oscillating fan>. vibrate suggests the rapid oscillation of an elastic body under stress or impact <the vibrating strings of a piano>. fluctuate suggests constant irregular changes of level, intensity, or value <fluctuating interest rates>. waver stresses irregular motion suggestive of reeling or tottering <the exhausted runner wavered before collapsing>. undulate suggests a gentle wavelike motion <an undulating sea of grass>. II. noun Date: 14th century 1. an act or instance of swinging ; swinging movement: as a. (1) a stroke or blow delivered with a sweeping arm movement <a batter with a powerful swing> (2) a sweeping or rhythmic movement of the body or a bodily part (3) a dance figure in which two dancers revolve with joined arms or hands (4) jazz dancing in moderate tempo with a lilting syncopation b. (1) the regular movement of a freely suspended object (as a pendulum) along an arc and back (2) back and forth sweep <the swing of the tides> c. (1) steady pulsing rhythm (as in poetry or music) (2) a steady vigorous movement characterizing an activity or creative work d. (1) a trend toward a high or low point in a fluctuating cycle (as of business activity) (2) an often periodic shift from one condition, form, position, or object of attention or favor to another 2. a. liberty of action b. (1) the driving power of something swung or hurled (2) steady vigorous advance ; driving speed <a train approaching at full swing> 3. the progression of an activity, process, or phase of existence <the work is in full swing> 4. the arc or range through which something swings 5. something that swings freely from or on a support; especially a seat suspended by a rope or chains for swinging to and fro on for pleasure 6. a. a curving course or outline b. a course from and back to a point ; a circular tour 7. jazz that is played (as by a big band) with a steady beat and that uses the harmonic structures of popular songs and the blues as a basis for improvisations and arrangements 8. a short pass in football thrown to a back running to the outside III. adjective Date: 1933 1. of or relating to musical swing <a swing band> <swing music> <swing dancing> 2. that may swing often decisively either way on an issue or in an election <swing voters> <a swing state>
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.