pivot

1 of 3

noun

piv·​ot ˈpi-vət How to pronounce pivot (audio)
plural pivots
1
: a shaft or pin on which something turns
2
a
: 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

pivot

2 of 3

adjective

1
: turning on or as if on a pivot
2

pivot

3 of 3

verb

pivoted; pivoting; pivots

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
pivotable adjective

Did you know?

Pivot is a French borrowing that slowly evolved grammatically in the English language. It began as a noun in the 14th century designating a shaft or pin on which something turns ("The chair turns on a pivot"). Later it was applied to any central person or thing around which action revolves. The noun then came to denote the action of turning about, oscillating, or balancing on or as if on a point ("the pivot of the golfer's body"; "a pivot in advertising strategy"). Adjectival use followed, always functioning as a synonym of the derivative pivotal describing things that are the pivot, that are vitally important or critical ("a pivot decision"). The word evolved yet again in the 19th century to become a verb indicating the act of turning, literally and figuratively, about a point ("The player pivoted and passed the ball"; "The plot pivots on revenge"). In wider extended use, it can imply a change of direction ("The company pivoted towards marketing remote learning tools and resources").

Example Sentences

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The economic factors behind the pivot to austerity are several, analysts say. Sam Schechner, WSJ, 15 Jan. 2023 Likely, Netflix is testing the waters for a larger expansion into lifestyle programming, leaning heavily on the Nike name to lend the pivot into fitness legitimacy. Time, 9 Jan. 2023 The pivot included top executives taking a significant bonus cut so regular workers could get compensation. Detroit Free Press, 7 Jan. 2023 The industry also faced questions about its ability to reverse declines with a pivot to streaming. Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter, 29 Dec. 2022 For musicians, NFTs are raising the value of music reminiscent of the physical vinyl or CD era that got diluted in the pivot to digital streaming. Ali Adab, Rolling Stone, 16 Nov. 2022 This general expectation of trust contributed to maintaining business development in this region during the pandemic, along with a quick pivot to online interaction. Martin Rand, Forbes, 26 Apr. 2022 After Kevin Durant left, the Golden State Warriors were faced with a necessary pivot to save money and make the double sign-and-trade with the Brooklyn Nets for D’Angelo Russell work. The Salt Lake Tribune, 6 Feb. 2022 The report mentions a lot of new people in high positions at Google Pay, so hopefully this will result in a more dramatic pivot than what is outlined in the article. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, 20 Jan. 2022
Adjective
His company sells systems for buildings and sits at the pivot point of the two transformations that are dominating business conversation here—technology and sustainability. Alan Murray, Fortune, 19 Jan. 2023 The debates will evolve in step with the Ravens’ offense, which could be arriving at a handful of pivot points in the Jackson-Roman partnership. Jonas Shaffer, Baltimore Sun, 7 Sep. 2022 The pivot point of the in-sequence serve-returns will be a focal point as Suffield continues to improve. Steve Smith, Hartford Courant, 28 Sep. 2022 Kessie will provide back up to aging veteran captain Sergio Busquets in the pivot role moving forward, in an area of the pitch which Frenkie de Jong has acknowledged is his favorite. Tom Sanderson, Forbes, 4 July 2022 This is kind of a pivot moment for you when people will see your work and likely start calling you to shoot things. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, 30 June 2022 The 2010 midterms, two years after former President Barack Obama was elected, were a pivot point for control of statehouses across the country. David A. Lieb, Anchorage Daily News, 3 July 2022 For her and Ukraine’s other young people, February 24, 2022, marks a pivot point—life will always be divided into a period before that day, when Vladimir Putin’s forces crossed into Ukraine, and after. Anna Nemtsova, The Atlantic, 10 June 2022 The one-year milepost, historically, is a pivot point for presidents, the natural transition from fighting to enact their agenda to selling it to voters ahead of the November midterm elections. Los Angeles Times, 19 Jan. 2022
Verb
The Annies were forced to pivot to a virtual event last year due to COVID. Terry Flores, Variety, 17 Jan. 2023 Then the pandemic hit, and he was forced to pivot again. Trey Williams, Fortune, 15 Jan. 2023 Gauguin and Schuffenecker first met as amateur painters working in the seemingly more-practical banking industry, only to be forced to pivot during a financial crash. Alexandra Bregman, Forbes, 31 Dec. 2022 Yet Wall Street appears to believe the Fed will eventually be forced to pivot away from, or even reverse its regimen of rate hikes. Nicole Goodkind, CNN, 14 Dec. 2022 But in the past two years, CEOs have been swept into an unprecedented time of workplace turbulence, forced to pivot from daily office hours to pandemic remote work and now to a hybrid of the two. Dallas News, 9 Nov. 2022 The rapid rise of TikTok has forced every other social platform to pivot toward shortform video (YouTube Shorts, Facebook and Instagram Reels, Snapchat Spotlight, etc.). Alex Weprin, The Hollywood Reporter, 28 Sep. 2022 Now, she is forced to pivot and take tours elsewhere. Patrick Connolly, Orlando Sentinel, 18 Sep. 2022 Homebuyers have been forced to pivot to a different type of mortgage loan in an attempt to keep costs down. Amber Bonefont, Sun Sentinel, 14 Sep. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

French

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1796, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1841, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

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

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Dictionary Entries Near pivot

Cite this Entry

“Pivot.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pivot. Accessed 28 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition

pivot

1 of 2 noun
piv·​ot ˈpiv-ət How to pronounce pivot (audio)
1
: a shaft or pin on which something turns
2
: something on which something else turns or depends : a central member, part, or point

pivot

2 of 2 verb
1
: to turn on or as if on a pivot
the guns are mounted in such a way as to pivot easily
the future pivots on what is done today
2
: to provide with, mount on, or attach by a pivot

Medical Definition

pivot

noun
piv·​ot ˈpiv-ət How to pronounce pivot (audio)
: a usually metallic pin holding an artificial crown to the root of a tooth

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