pen·​du·​lum | \ ˈpen-jə-ləm How to pronounce pendulum (audio) , ˈpen-dyə-, -də- \

Definition of pendulum

1 : a body suspended from a fixed point so as to swing freely to and fro under the action of gravity and commonly used to regulate movements (as of clockwork)
2 : something (such as a state of affairs) that alternates between opposites doesn't take much to swing the pendulum of opinion the other way

Examples of pendulum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The pendulum, in other words, is swinging away from jumbo sport watches. Darrell Hartman, WSJ, "Why Men’s Watch Faces Are Getting Smaller," 30 Mar. 2021 Rather than wait for the midterm elections in the hope that the political pendulum swings back automatically, conservatives ought to leverage the countless, practical policies that are burgeoning at the state level. Douglas Carswell, National Review, "States Are Pivotal to Reviving the Conservative Cause," 7 Feb. 2021 The economic pendulum is swinging back after the shock of the pandemic. George Calhoun, Forbes, "What Are The True Fundamentals Behind The Treasury Bond ‘Rout’?," 8 Apr. 2021 This pendulum swing of different administrations and priorities reflects the extremely gradual rate of change in STEM fields overall and certainly within the intelligence community—a pace that for many remains far too slow. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, "The Opportunities—and Obstacles—for Women at NSA and Cyber Command," 6 Apr. 2021 The burger pendulum could just as easily swing back tomorrow, with super-sized bistro burgers returning to prominence. Michael Russell, oregonlive, "Portland’s 14 best smash burgers, reviewed and ranked," 30 Mar. 2021 But even this clever torsion pendulum design did not totally isolate the test mass from the busy urban environment of daytime Vienna. Ben Brubaker, Scientific American, "Physicists Measure the Gravitational Force between the Smallest Masses Yet," 10 Mar. 2021 Where should the pendulum come to rest in a post-pandemic sales world? Forrester, Forbes, "Sales Leaders: What Happens When We All Get To Travel Again?," 5 Mar. 2021 But that law and those protections are on the same pendulum that swung in the case of other civil rights acts, also promising more freedom and more equality. Lz Granderson, Star Tribune, "A historic bill for LGBTQ rights, but will the pendulum swing again?," 26 Feb. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pendulum.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of pendulum

1660, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pendulum

New Latin, from Latin, neuter of pendulus

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Time Traveler for pendulum

Time Traveler

The first known use of pendulum was in 1660

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Statistics for pendulum

Last Updated

24 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pendulum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for pendulum



English Language Learners Definition of pendulum

: a stick with a weight at the bottom that swings back and forth inside a clock


pen·​du·​lum | \ ˈpen-jə-ləm How to pronounce pendulum (audio) , -dyə- \

Kids Definition of pendulum

: a weight hung from a point so as to swing freely back and forth under the action of gravity

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More from Merriam-Webster on pendulum

Nglish: Translation of pendulum for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pendulum for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about pendulum

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