noun \ˈswā\

: a slow movement back and forth

: a controlling force or influence

Full Definition of SWAY

:  the action or an instance of swaying or of being swayed :  an oscillating, fluctuating, or sweeping motion
:  an inclination or deflection caused by or as if by swaying
a :  a controlling influence
b :  sovereign power :  dominion
c :  the ability to exercise influence or authority :  dominance

Examples of SWAY

  1. the sway of the ship
  2. the sexy sway of her hips
  3. He has come under the sway of terrorists.
  4. The ancient Romans held sway over most of Europe.

Origin of SWAY

Middle English sweigh, from sweyen
First Known Use: 14th century



: to move slowly back and forth

: to cause (someone) to agree with you or to share your opinion

Full Definition of SWAY

intransitive verb
a :  to swing slowly and rhythmically back and forth from a base or pivot
b :  to move gently from an upright to a leaning position
:  to hold sway :  act as ruler or governor
:  to fluctuate or veer between one point, position, or opinion and another
transitive verb
a :  to cause to sway :  set to swinging, rocking, or oscillating
b :  to cause to bend downward to one side
c :  to cause to turn aside :  deflect, divert
a :  wield
b :  govern, rule
a :  to cause to vacillate
b :  to exert a guiding or controlling influence on
:  to hoist in place <sway up a mast>
sway·er noun

Examples of SWAY

  1. branches swaying in the breeze
  2. He swayed a moment before he fainted.
  3. The lawyer tried to sway the jury.
  4. She persisted in her argument, but I wouldn't let her sway me.

Origin of SWAY

alteration of earlier swey to fall, swoon, from Middle English sweyen, probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse sveigja to sway; akin to Lithuanian svaigti to become dizzy
First Known Use: circa 1500


Next Word in the Dictionary: swaybackedPrevious Word in the Dictionary: swaverAll Words Near: sway
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