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


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

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 None of that necessarily involves a pivot to more three-guard lineups — or at least lineups with three of those four specifically — at any one time. Zach Osterman, Indianapolis Star, "For first time this season, IU's backcourt is in one piece," 20 Dec. 2019 One of those goals allowed went to Maple Leafs C Alexander Kerfoot, but Howard needn’t worry about the ex-Avalanche pivot, as Kerfoot is suspended for this one. Joe Williams, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Toronto Maple Leafs at Detroit Red Wings odds, picks and best bets," 27 Nov. 2019 And although only a couple seasons of Real Housewives and Keeping Up With The Kardashians existed at the time, one of reality TV’s breakout stars also made a pivot to fashion with what might be considered the OG of influencer brands. Gina Marinelli, Glamour, "Lauren Conrad Started Her Fashion Brand 10 Years Ago. Her Influence Might Be Stronger Than Ever.," 28 Oct. 2019 And, the blades pivot when opened to cut around heavy bone. Alex Robinson, Outdoor Life, "12 Hot New Broadheads for 2019," 15 Jan. 2019 The pivot of the movie is a scene that is, appropriately, sparking indignation. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "The Unintentional Politics of Clint Eastwood’s “Richard Jewell”," 12 Dec. 2019 The 6-5 pivot was a monstrous 14 points, 15 rebounds, and four blocks in just 23 minutes as the Wolves cruised to a 68-43 rout of Mountain Pointe. Dana Scott, azcentral, "Vote for the Arizona high school girls basketball top performer: Dec. 2-7," 9 Dec. 2019 The pivots were once the property of Kingman Farms, an entity owned by Las Vegas housing developer Jim Rhodes. AZCentral.com, "These 7 industrial farm operations are draining Arizona's aquifers, and no one knows exactly how much they're taking," 5 Dec. 2019 The latest earnings call by Jumia shows the largest e-commerce player in Africa is still trying to figuring out how to make e-commerce work—but its partial fintech pivot might yet work. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "Jumia is shipping bigger losses but its plans to build an African fintech leader are on pace," 13 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Past the front pivot door, a stroll leads through the living room that flaunts a floor-to-ceiling electric fireplace and cushy seating. Georgann Yara, azcentral, "Zen area and cozy nooks bring indoor living outside in Gilbert home. Take a peek," 31 Oct. 2019 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 Scientists pivoted away from believing that the brain and body function as church and state entities, and developed an entirely new brain-body paradigm which acknowledges that the brain is also governed by the immune system. Donna Jackson Nakazawa, STAT, "Microglia: a new target in the brain for depression, Alzheimer’s, and more?," 17 Jan. 2020 SeaWorld San Diego in southern California was the first park to pivot away from the One Ocean show, debuting Orca Encounter there in 2017. Daniel Arkin, NBC News, "SeaWorld Orlando to debut new killer-whale show at the start of 2020," 24 Dec. 2019 Whilst incidents of xenophobia are clearly concerning, many Muslims have family in the Commonwealth and are open to Britain pivoting away from Europe and perhaps towards their countries of heritage. Musharraf Hussain, Time, "British Muslims Can Swing the U.K. Election, But Only If They Get Out and Vote," 18 Nov. 2019 Despite rising tensions in the Middle East, the Pentagon under Esper’s leadership has been attempting to pivot away from the region and toward China and Russia. Fox News, "US warship sails through Taiwan Strait in message to China," 13 Nov. 2019 Adoption of the technology comes as Americans pivot away from using cash. Abdel Jimenez, chicagotribune.com, "Salvation Army bell ringers, who return to some Chicago stores this week, know you may not have spare change. But now you can just tap your phone.," 4 Nov. 2019 Sewing is jettisoning what Deutsche Bank was never very good at and pivoting away from hedge-fund clients to focus on corporate customers. Washington Post, "Deutsche Bank’s Reboot Looks Real This Time," 1 Oct. 2019 But, behind the scenes, Black Ridge decided to pivot away from oil and gas altogether. Jordan Blum, Houston Chronicle, "Oil company transforms into esports video game firm," 12 Aug. 2019 But those candidates took it upon themselves to address climate change, pivoting away from other subjects brought up by the moderators. Emily Atkin, The New Republic, "The First Democratic Debate Failed The Planet," 27 June 2019

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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for pivot

Last Updated

5 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pivot.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pivot?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=p&file=pivot001. Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for pivot


How to pronounce pivot (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pivot

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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