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
2 : pivotal


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 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 This unexpected pivot opens up a new hiring landscape for those of us in higher education. Paige Francis, Forbes, "Why Most Attempts To Hire Campus Tech Staff Post-Pandemic Will Fail," 5 May 2021 Humphrey would take over for retired pivot Maurkice Pouncey. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "NFL second-round mock draft: Buccaneers find possible Tom Brady successor at QB," 30 Apr. 2021 Bauman, a Bay Area native who graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in New York, spent most of 2020 in pivot mode. Elena Kadvany, San Francisco Chronicle, "A Cotogna alum is opening her own Italian restaurant in the Marina," 27 Apr. 2021 With Bergeron sidelined, Charlie Coyle moved up from No. 3 center and into Bergeron’s pivot spot on the No. 1 line with Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. BostonGlobe.com, "Bruins No. 1 center Patrice Bergeron sidelined with lower-body injury," 23 Apr. 2021 Over the last decade, late-night hosts across the board began to lay aside their relatable, everyman’s brand of comedy and pivot toward lecturing the crowd on their moral values. Kyle Mann, National Review, "Samantha Bee Is Wrong about Comedy," 17 Apr. 2021 In a 180-degree pivot away from the years of social media content built largely upon the visual, Clubhouse has influencers offering up ideas. Josh Richards, Rolling Stone, "How Influencers Can Use Clubhouse to Reach Their Audience," 9 Apr. 2021 Jhumpa Lahiri made a big pivot with her latest novel, Whereabouts. Seija Rankin, EW.com, "Get all the details on Jhumpa Lahiri's Whereabouts book tour," 14 Apr. 2021 Bannon’s pivot into full-scale Sinophobia, like many of his other ideological investments, also served his self-interest. Adele M. Stan, The New Republic, "Insurrectionist in Chief," 10 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective While a small company like MJTC can be nimble and pivot quickly, bigger houses need more lead time. Rohan Preston, Star Tribune, "Twin Cities theaters cautiously open their curtains," 30 Apr. 2021 The pivot point of the research was March 21, 2020: the day that in-person instruction ended in Chicago public schools and home-schooling began. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, "How the Closure of In-School Learning Damaged U.S. Children's Mental Health During the Pandemic," 29 Apr. 2021 With the pandemic beginning to ease in the US, Wednesday night's speech (0100 GMT Thursday) also marks a pivot point to an ambitious agenda that faces a deeply uncertain future. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "How the first 100 days became a standard by which new presidents are judged," 28 Apr. 2021 January 6th was a pivot point for this country and for this party. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "Georgia Republican leader says party's post-election actions hurt election reform 'credibility'," 15 Mar. 2021 January 6th was a pivot point for this country and for this party. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "Georgia Republican leader says party's post-election actions hurt election reform 'credibility'," 15 Mar. 2021 Restaurants are eager to go back—to pre-pivot operations, to indoor dining, to normal. Bon Appétit, "Restaurants Are Eager to Get Back to “Normal,” But Status Quo Isn’t Enough," 7 Apr. 2021 January 6th was a pivot point for this country and for this party. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "Georgia Republican leader says party's post-election actions hurt election reform 'credibility'," 15 Mar. 2021 But there hasn't been any pivot point where the Warriors declined to pursue in making the roster better. Matt Eppers, USA TODAY, "Breaking down the contenders, pretenders as the action heats up before the 2021 NBA trade deadline," 24 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb While some vaccination clinics were able to quickly pivot to using vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, the impact was felt acutely at more than 7,000 sites that were only using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at the time. Dr. Leah Croll, ABC News, "Experts weigh the potential harms of pausing Johnson & Johnson vaccinations," 22 Apr. 2021 Companies and employees, and especially communicators, should be able to pivot when necessary. Expert Panel®, Forbes, "How Has Covid-19 Impacted Professionals At Work? 13 Lessons Learned," 20 Apr. 2021 Both companies were able to pivot quickly to create new vaccines against the emerging variant because their shots were designed using the genetic material mRNA. Alice Park, Time, "Will You Need a Booster Shot of the COVID-19 Vaccine?," 16 Apr. 2021 Anixa is regularly involved in research, and the pandemic certainly required us to pivot and become flexible in order to continue our work. Amit Kumar, Forbes, "Scientific Research During A Pandemic," 3 Mar. 2021 Forced to pivot from their traditional face-to-face advising sessions and workshops, Coastal Bend’s coaches met with students virtually while also providing them with links to resources as virtual museums, virtual workouts to stay healthy, and more. Dallas News, "How Texas is trying to reverse falling college enrollments," 14 Mar. 2021 How has the pandemic forced you to pivot your business? Amy Shoenthal, Forbes, "Meet The Woman Who Built A Bra Empire By Breaking All The Rules," 12 Mar. 2021 Like the rest of Condé Nast, Wired has been forced to pivot its business away from reliance on print magazine subscriptions. Kerry Flynn, CNN, "Wired names Gideon Lichfield of MIT Tech Review as top editor," 2 Mar. 2021 From there, Lara Jean is forced to pivot and consider the other schools she was accepted to, Berkeley and NYU. Megan Decker, refinery29.com, "Did You Miss The Hidden Symbolism Of Lara Jean’s Hair In To All The Boys 3?," 18 Feb. 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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for pivot

Last Updated

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pivot.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pivot. Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for pivot



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

Nglish: Translation of pivot for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pivot for Arabic Speakers

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