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 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 The pilot site provides an early glimpse of how the energy-and-petrochemicals conglomerate controlled by Asia’s richest man is stepping up consumer offerings in a pivot toward newer businesses. P R Sanjai / Bloomberg, Time, "Asia's Richest Man Unveils Online Shopping Platform to Challenge Amazon in India," 31 Dec. 2019 Coyle remains with Krejci Charlie Coyle will continue life Tuesday as David Krejci’s right winger, moving up to the second line after impressive work as the pivot on the No. BostonGlobe.com, "Cassidy said he did “ not know the exact term” for the procedure, but referred to “spinning the blood to help healing.”," 17 Dec. 2019 That percentage hasn't budged in decades despite many new drugs—suggesting a pivot in tactics is desperately needed. Jennifer Couzin-frankel, Science | AAAS, "As epilepsy drugs fail nearly one-third of patients, scientists seek root causes of seizures," 12 Dec. 2019 Pittsburgh’s formula doesn’t match their recent offensive philosophies but circumstance forced Tomlin’s talented defense to mature quickly as the Steelers pivot from offensive juggernaut to a control-the-clock team that relies on defense. Ellis L. Williams, cleveland, "Devlin “Duck” Hodges will start for Pittsburgh, what should the Browns defense expect?," 27 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 The illustrator, Cari Vander Yacht, is an Oregon native who pivoted to her present career in New York after having worked as an art director in the Pacific Northwest. New York Times, "Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due," 3 Jan. 2020 Variety, for example, suggested that the franchise will pivot to streaming, as opposed to big-budget features. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Star Wars' is entering a new phase, but its galaxy goes beyond streaming," 30 Dec. 2019 Cartelli replied before the pair pivoted back to talking about music. Grace Gavilanes, PEOPLE.com, "TMI Alert! 18 Times Celebs Overshared Like It Was NBD," 27 Dec. 2019 The anti-vaccine movement began pivoting to a broader message blaming vaccines for numerous illnesses. Anchorage Daily News, "Major funder of anti-vaccine movement makes millions selling ‘natural’ health products," 23 Dec. 2019 That has been a boost to Lionsgate, which has pivoted to mid-budget commercial fare as bigger studios focus on spectacles. al, "Box office is down in 2019 despite ‘The Rise of Skywalker.’ That’s not what’s worrying theaters most," 22 Dec. 2019 The anti-vaccine movement began pivoting to a broader message blaming vaccines for numerous illnesses. Washington Post, "A major funder of the anti-vaccine movement has made millions selling natural health products," 20 Dec. 2019 The cube itself would tilt down at a 45-degree angle and pivot around DeadMau5 behind his station — sometimes wearing his mouse helmet with glowing green eyes and agape mouth — letting fans and star get a good look at each other. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Despite being sick, DeadMau5 masters his craft at Wisconsin Center spectacle in Milwaukee," 15 Dec. 2019 Gommeson caught the ball at the 1-yard-line and pivoted across the goal line. Wright Wilson, Detroit Free Press, "G.R. Catholic Central steamrolls Birmingham Detroit Country Day, 44-0, for Div. 4 title," 30 Nov. 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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Learn More about pivot

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

22 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pivot.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pivotable. Accessed 22 January 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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