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
Recent Examples of pendulum from the Web
Whatever the industry, companies will be reluctant to change plans based solely on the withdrawal from the climate agreement because the pendulum could swing back.
And the pendulum started its long-term swings: progressive rock and corporate rock would be swatted back by punk and disco, hair metal would be blasted by grunge and hip-hop.
The pendulum, under the administration of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, is very much on the side of school choice.
Like the book’s author, Sloane anticipates the pendulum swinging the other way and people craving lower-tech lives.
Remember, the length of the pendulum isn’t in meters but in blocks.
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.
Origin and Etymology of pendulum
New Latin, from Latin, neuter of pendulus
First Known Use: 1660See Words from the same year
PENDULUM Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of pendulum for English Language Learners
: a stick with a weight at the bottom that swings back and forth inside a clock
PENDULUM Defined for Kids
Definition of pendulum for Students
: a weight hung from a point so as to swing freely back and forth under the action of gravity
Word Root of pendulum
The Latin word pendere, meaning “to cause to hang down,” gives us the root pend. Words from the Latin pendere have something to do with hanging. To suspend is to cause something to hang down from a single point. To depend is to hang, or rely, on the support of others. A pendant is an ornament that hangs free, as on a necklace. A pendulum is an object hung from a point that swings freely back and forth, as in a clock.
Seen and Heard
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