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

Essential Meaning of pivot

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

Full 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
4 : a usually marked change The idea of allowing a [marijuana] dispensary in the city is a pivot from the stance previously held by the council, which voted in early 2018 to ban sales in the city.— Katie Sobko especially : an adjustment or modification made (as to a product, service, or strategy) in order to adapt or improve A global pandemic strikes a business. The adaptable owner assesses the situation, predicts the future, and starts their pivot. — Jodie Cook The company even redesigned its logo to look more like an electrical plug to emphasize its pivot to battery-powered vehicles. — Andrew J. Hawkins The debate around the use of tools to track employee productivity has grown since the pivot to remote work in 2020. — Owen Hughes The pivot to virtual learning impacted income and occupancy rates of hotels at colleges … — Melissa Angell



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

1 : to turn on or as if on a pivot a TV stand that pivots She pivoted on her heel and stalked out of the room. (figurative) The plot pivots on the discovery that Emily, who had for years been presumed dead, is found alive.— Debi Enker and Melinda Houston
2 : to adapt or improve by adjusting or modifying something (such as a product, service, or strategy) In my first product business, I didn't know when to pivot and lost everything as a result. When your output (money) exceeds your input, or you can't afford to pay yourself, it's time to pivot.— India Gary-Martin Restauranteur Jordan Rulloda has been grinding through this pandemic. … Rulloda says he and his small team have pivoted the best they can.— Lyndsay Morrison The city famed for steel mills that powered America's industrial rise has steadily pivoted toward technology and health care …— Jonathan Lemire et al.

transitive verb

1 : to provide with, mount on, or attach by a pivot a pivoted mechanism
2 : to cause to pivot pivoted the camera
3 : to adapt or improve by adjusting or modifying (something, such as a product, service, or strategy) Pharmacies have pivoted their businesses to meet the demands of mass vaccination services …— Nick Thayer … many organizations have pivoted their operations by taking services online to adapt to current conditions and strengthen business resiliency.— Desmond Nair … sales departments have pivoted the way they're restaffing and handling sales meetings—rather than putting 100 workers back out in the field, they're deploying their teams in strategic ways and outsourcing sales until they hire again.— Zeenath Kuraisha

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Other Words from pivot


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

Examples of pivot in a Sentence

Noun an issue that is the real pivot of the controversy Verb 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 Meanwhile the Caps have two first-round choices potentially to fill the gap at pivot: Connor McMichael and Hendrix Lapierre. BostonGlobe.com, 9 Oct. 2021 There is the shed weight pivot that our favorite photo-sharing app, Instagram, launched to perfection. Benoni Tagoe, Rolling Stone, 7 Oct. 2021 Instead of worrying about these changes, companies can plan ahead for potential pivot needs during a crisis. Ahmed Shabana, Forbes, 7 Oct. 2021 Not even the man behind Lightning McQueen himself understands this pivot in creative direction, which seems to feature a lot of the red fella creeping on girl cars and arguing with their dads and husbands. Devon Ivie, Vulture, 4 Oct. 2021 Studios like WarnerMedia and Disney had already begun shifting more offerings to streaming prior to the pandemic, but the closure of theaters last year accelerated that pivot. Courtney Vinopal, Quartz, 1 Oct. 2021 That pivot would also mirror an ongoing Internet trend. Gene Park, Washington Post, 28 Sep. 2021 Dallas Youth Poets’ Gabby Elvessie and her experience coaching young writers and Dallas improv comedian Sydney Plant’s pivot from live shows to launching a T-shirt line. Julianna Morano, Dallas News, 23 Sep. 2021 China Vanke's pivot to property management may offer a more stable future and is a route other land developers have favored. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, 21 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The overtime sting has the potential to end up a pivot point for Oregon. John Canzano, oregonlive, 3 Oct. 2021 Jones’s cutting delivery of those first two words is a gemlike highlight of the film—and what Tammy Faye knew, and when, prove to be the very pivot point of the story to come. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 24 Sep. 2021 The deal also seemed to be a pivot point in relations with China, which reacted angrily. BostonGlobe.com, 16 Sep. 2021 There would have been another pivot point to drive him to excel. Kumar Mehta, Forbes, 15 Sep. 2021 Will the early 2020s end up being a pivot point for the industry, or will EVs remain a novelty? Laurent Belsie, The Christian Science Monitor, 23 Aug. 2021 Manufacturing needs a way to help machines be more visible, intelligent and pivot when needed. Amar Hanspal, Forbes, 6 July 2021 Weinstein grabbed the film away from him and chopped nearly a full hour out, turning an ambitious retelling of a pivot point in the American West into a dull, hazy love story of no particular importance. Tim Grierson, Vulture, 30 July 2021 Plus the available tools to help standalone businesses pivot to selling online were lacking or costly. Rebecca Szkutak, Forbes, 5 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Class of 2022 has already had to learn how to pivot and adapt. Lisa King, Forbes, 17 Sep. 2021 Ultimately, like so many other Broadway professionals, he was forced to pivot to a new job in order to make ends meet — first at a gym in Hell's Kitchen, then in customer service for a pet medication manufacturer. Christina Capatides, CBS News, 16 Sep. 2021 Agendas frequently change in the nation's capital, and the Washington Football Team is already being forced to pivot. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, 13 Sep. 2021 The pandemic forced both the Overwatch League and Call of Duty League to pivot away from live events, while keeping matches online throughout 2020 and most of 2021. Sean Collins, Dallas News, 3 Sep. 2021 When the pandemic hit in 2020, forcing bars to close for a period of time, Valdés was forced to pivot. oregonlive, 16 Aug. 2021 The network that presents the games has been forced to pivot, and the addition of Michael Phelps to its broadcast team turned into a master stroke for unanticipated reasons. David Bauder, ajc, 31 July 2021 The network that presents the games has been forced to pivot, and the addition of Michael Phelps to its broadcast team turned into a master stroke for unanticipated reasons. David Bauder, Star Tribune, 30 July 2021 Last year, the pandemic forced us to pivot, encouraging readers to donate to charities that work nationally to relieve food insecurity. Washington Post, 28 June 2021

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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Time Traveler for pivot

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

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Last Updated

11 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pivot.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pivot. Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for pivot


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

More from Merriam-Webster on pivot

Nglish: Translation of pivot for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pivot for Arabic Speakers


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