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").

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The 2021 opening of The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park allowed the symphony to pivot to health-conscious outdoor performances while its concert hall was being rebuilt. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8 May 2024 As Jasper Craven reports, Gallagher is part of a trend: Gallagher’s pivot also speaks to the trend of divisive right-wing figures harnessing backlash to build a brand. Seyward Darby, Longreads, 6 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for pivot 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pivot.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 21 May. 2024.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on pivot

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