piv·​ot | \ ˈpi-vət How to pronounce pivot (audio) \

Definition of pivot

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a shaft or pin on which something turns
2a : a person, thing, or factor having a major or central role, function, or effect
b : a key player or position specifically : an offensive position of a basketball player standing usually with back to the basket to relay passes, shoot, or provide a screen for teammates
3 : the action of pivoting especially : the action in basketball of stepping with one foot while keeping the other foot at its point of contact with the floor



Definition of pivot (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : turning on or as if on a pivot
2 : pivotal


pivoted; pivoting; pivots

Definition of pivot (Entry 3 of 3)

intransitive verb

: to turn on or as if on a pivot

transitive verb

1 : to provide with, mount on, or attach by a pivot
2 : to cause to pivot

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Other Words from pivot


pivotable \ ˈpi-​və-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce pivotable (audio) \ adjective

Examples of pivot in a Sentence


an issue that is the real pivot of the controversy


The dancers pivoted on their toes and changed direction. The door hinge pivots around the pin. The quarterback pivoted and threw the ball to the running back.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Amazon’s latest drone can make vertical liftoffs like a helicopter and pivot to fly horizontally, Wilke said. Greg Bensinger, Washington Post, "Amazon’s latest package delivery drone will fly itself," 5 June 2019 Step 5: Install pivot mounts on each side of the toilet. Candace Braun Davison, House Beautiful, "How to Install a Toilet," 9 Apr. 2019 The pieces then pivot to arguing that SpaceX's load-and-go fueling process—in which the crew will board the Dragon spacecraft on top of the Falcon 9 rocket before it is fueled—ignores the lessons that Hagar's generation learned during Apollo. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "A shadowy op-ed campaign is now smearing SpaceX in space cities," 4 Oct. 2018 The fix involves applying an adhesive to the pedal’s pivot nut. Fox News, "GM recalling 41,000 trucks to fix loose brake pedals," 18 Sep. 2018 All Khosrowshahi had to do was look apologetic then pivot to the company’s new ethos. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "The Verge 2018 tech report card: Uber," 29 Dec. 2018 With Victor Oladipo at the helm, Pacers pivot to bright future after Game 7 loss to Cavs ► Reaction to the Pacers' Game 7 loss to the Cavaliers Of course, LeBron dropped 45 points in a 105-101 Cavs win that sent the Pacers home for the season. Matthew Vantryon, Indianapolis Star, "Everyone wanted to watch LeBron lose a Game 7," 30 Apr. 2018 The sudden pivot to no bikinis (and no evening gowns, either) seems to be a direct result of the organization's credibility as an empowering outlet for young women taking a beating. refinery29.com, "Miss America Scrapping The Swimsuit Competition Won't Make It More Inclusive," 6 June 2018 One appreciated the pivot from playing of extroverted brilliance toward a quieter exploration of Bach’s solitary sublime. Jeremy Eichler, BostonGlobe.com, "At BSO, Prokofiev’s Fifth and Brahms at his most lyric," 27 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Green, however, clearly picked up his left pivot foot first, which was missed and likely should’ve been called a traveling violation. J. Michael, Indianapolis Star, "Tempers spike in intense rivalry between Pacers, Cavs with Lance Stephenson in middle," 23 Apr. 2018 Struggling to keep her pivot foot at the top of the arc amid a double-team, her shovel pass found a wide-open Sabally for a layup and a 62-46 lead with 7:32 remaining. Andrew Greif, OregonLive.com, "Ducks women stay put, Beavers move up in AP poll," 22 Jan. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Many of its classic brands struggled with softer sales as consumers pivoted toward healthier foods. The Motley Fool, The Seattle Times, "The Motley Fool: Explaining negative amortization," 18 May 2019 Upon accepting her award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Rachel Brosnahan pivoted from adorably heartfelt to political. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "The Best Jokes About Politics from the 2018 Emmys," 18 Sep. 2018 After two years of treating adversaries and allies alike as trade villains, President Trump pivoted last week. Greg Ip, WSJ, "On China, Trump Leads a Coalition of the Unwilling," 22 May 2019 If the world was at risk of sliding into recession, policy makers appear to have pivoted in time to prevent it. Greg Ip, WSJ, "The World Seems to Have Dodged Recession, for Now," 5 Apr. 2019 Oelman concedes that this is probably just a biomechanical trick: alone among the insects he photographs, mantises have the ability to pivot their heads on flexible necks—to look back at the camera as the camera looks at them. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, "This New Movie Will Give You a New Love for Insects. Really.," 18 Apr. 2018 People have previously guessed that the new album will pivot from the snakes of Reputation or feature mermaids or butterflies. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Taylor Swift's Website Now Has a Countdown—and Fans Think New Music Is Coming Soon," 13 Apr. 2019 Visitors to the Seattle waterfront will hear the crunch of breaking concrete this February, while demolition equipment pivots through clouds of dust and mist, flexing spiked jaws that will munch the six-story-high columns and slice through rebar. Mike Lindblom, The Seattle Times, "Seattle’s big demolition spectacle: How crews plan to pulverize the Alaskan Way Viaduct," 5 Dec. 2018 The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia will pivot this week and boost output enough to stabilize prices while increasing their revenue. Renae Merle, Washington Post, "The Finance 202: Trump's CFPB nominee is facing questions about the immigration controversy," 20 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pivot.' 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 pivot


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1796, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1841, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for pivot



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Statistics for pivot

Last Updated

11 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pivot

The first known use of pivot was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for pivot



English Language Learners Definition of pivot

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a pin or shaft on which a mechanical part turns
: the action of turning around a point : the action of pivoting
: a person or thing that is central or important to someone or something else



English Language Learners Definition of pivot (Entry 2 of 2)

: to turn on or around a central point


piv·​ot | \ ˈpi-vət How to pronounce pivot (audio) \

Kids Definition of pivot

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a shaft or pin with a pointed end on which something turns
2 : the action or an instance of turning around on a point


pivoted; pivoting

Kids Definition of pivot (Entry 2 of 2)

: to turn on or as if on a pivot : turn around on a central point pivot on one foot


piv·​ot | \ ˈpiv-ət How to pronounce pivot (audio) \

Medical Definition of pivot

: a usually metallic pin holding an artificial crown to the root of a tooth

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More from Merriam-Webster on pivot

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pivot

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pivot

Spanish Central: Translation of pivot

Nglish: Translation of pivot for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pivot for Arabic Speakers

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