pen·​du·​lum | \ ˈpen-jə-ləm, 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

But the scars of the crisis are still visible in the American housing market, which has undergone a pendulum swing in the last decade. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "10 years after the financial crisis, is the housing market still at risk?," 29 Aug. 2018 Still, Hall acknowledges that his is an especially appealing vision now that the pendulum has begun to swing away from the stark design that has dominated that industry for the past few years. Samuel Hine, GQ, "Inside the London Leisure Palace of Design Phenom Luke Edward Hall," 18 Apr. 2018 The gentle ticking of all those pendulums might just calm everyone down a bit. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "How Conflict in the Balkans Is Screwing Up Europe’s Clocks," 8 Mar. 2018 The pendulum arms connect via a pair of linkages to a horizontal bar mounted on a center pivot, which in turn is connected to a pair of scissor-style arms. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, "Thrustmaster TPR: The best flight sim pedals you can buy in a store like a normal person," 23 Sep. 2018 Jeffteeters between laughter and tears, with the pendulum swinging dangerously close to anger as he’s restricted from publicly coping, and his steadfast belief that some good must come from pain starts to fall into question. Karen Han, Vox, "Jim Carrey returns to TV on Showtime’s Kidding. It’s a messy triumph.," 8 Sep. 2018 In the decade since the crisis, the pendulum has swung the other direction. Liz Hoffman, WSJ, "How Banks Lost the Battle for Power on Wall Street," 7 Sep. 2018 And then, perhaps, the pendulum swung too far in the other direction, giving Nantucket—an old whaling village with a history as a blue-collar town—a bit too much chic. Hannah Seligson, Town & Country, "Inside Hotel Pippa, the Buzziest New Place to Stay on Nantucket," 1 Aug. 2018 But the current trend is probably less a swing of the pendulum than a simple market correction. Tom Roland, Billboard, "Country's Roots Are Showing as New Releases Embrace Old-School Sounds," 11 July 2018

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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Statistics for pendulum

Last Updated

28 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for pendulum

The first known use of pendulum was in 1660

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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, -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

Spanish Central: Translation of pendulum

Nglish: Translation of pendulum for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on pendulum

What made you want to look up pendulum? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to gather or build up little by little

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