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 Tough ending The pendulum swings to the opposite end in December. David Moore, Dallas News, "Cowboys schedule takeaways: Dallas gets a cushy start before facing a tough slate at season’s end," 7 May 2020 Republican strategists note the pendulum could easily swing back in Trump’s direction before the election. Charlotte Alter, Time, "For Some Reluctant Trump Voters, Coronavirus Was The Last Straw," 30 Apr. 2020 The pendulum swings when one party takes it too far. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "'No doubt': Flake claims a 'sound defeat' in 2020 election better for Republicans in 'long term'," 28 Apr. 2020 Now the pendulum has swung back toward full testing by the state lab. oregonlive, "Oregon’s new coronavirus testing guidelines: See if you qualify," 21 Apr. 2020 Find your own way to swing the pendulum in the direction of love. The Rev. Ellin Dize,, "Dize: Jesus is the reason for the season and Christmas is an inclusive holiday," 30 Nov. 2019 Guaranteed game time under Solskjaer could swing the pendulum in United's favour over any other unnamed suitors, with United's struggles sure to grant Werner first-team football., "Man Utd Tipped to Make January Move for Long-Term Liverpool Target Timo Werner," 3 Nov. 2019 But is all this enough to swing the pendulum toward permanent change in R&B and hip-hop? Los Angeles Times, "Lil Nas X came out, but has hip-hop? A macho culture faces a crossroads," 31 July 2019 But changes triggered during the Obama Administration swung the pendulum to the other side, Johnson said. Catherine Rentz,, "Ex-UMBC baseball players, part of national trend, turning tables on sexual assault accuser in court," 8 July 2019

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

17 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pendulum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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How to pronounce pendulum (audio)

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

Spanish Central: Translation of pendulum

Nglish: Translation of pendulum for Spanish Speakers

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

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