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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from pivot


pivotable \ ˈpi-​və-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce pivotable (audio) \ adjective

Examples of pivot in a Sentence


an issue that is the real pivot of the controversy


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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The same goes for business models and pivot tables in Excel. Christina Stembel, Quartz at Work, "Creating Farmgirl Flowers taught me my high school education is more than enough," 29 Aug. 2019 Trump's comments, made at the G-7 summit in France this weekend, were an apparent pivot after last week saw the latest salvos fired between the world's two largest economies. Eric Baculinao, NBC News, "China defiant on Trump's trade war, but some fear it hurts them too," 27 Aug. 2019 Vanschoorisse plays the pivot position up front and finished with three goals, including the opening game’s first goal to break the ice. Glenn Graham, baltimoresun.com, "McDonogh’s Will McManus, Eastern Tech’s Brooke Vanschoorisse a hit with U.S. futsal national teams in Argentina," 26 Aug. 2019 Who wins and loses globally in the auto industry’s pivot to an electric-car future will depend largely on who triumphs in China. Fortune, "Electric Car Gold Rush: The Auto Industry Charges Into China," 20 Aug. 2019 In 2018, Kardashian-West began her public pivot from selling lip kit and body-con fare to advocating for criminal justice reform. Stacy-ann Ellis, Teen Vogue, "Examining Kim Kardashian-West's Influence On Trump," 30 July 2019 Even during the heady days of the epic bitcoin bubble in 2017, Long Island Iced Tea Corp.’s pivot to blockchain was a particularly brash ploy to latch onto the crypto hype. Justin Rohrlich, Quartz, "The FBI thinks Long Island Iced Tea’s infamous pivot to blockchain was sweetened by insider trading," 25 July 2019 The deficit and the debt have risen markedly during the Trump administration, a major pivot from the GOP demands during the Obama administration that the deficit should be eliminated. Author: Erica Werner, Damian Paletta, Anchorage Daily News, "House passes two-year budget deal to lift spending, suspend debt ceiling," 25 July 2019 Putin also hosts an annual forum there meant to spotlight his country's economic pivot to Asia. Nathan Hodge, CNN, "Putin and Xi test a budding military alliance in the Pacific -- and step up confrontation," 23 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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

By the time the last iron mine closed in 1981, Luxembourg had already pivoted to financial services, which now accounts for 35 percent of its GDP, but since the 2008 financial crisis the country's leaders have been looking to diversify the economy. Wired, "Luxembourg's Bold Plan to Mine Asteroids for Rare Minerals," 29 Aug. 2019 Share the challenges of pivoting from a nine to five corporate job to being in business for yourself. Dominique Fluker, Essence, "How This Former Engineer Left Her Dream Job To Bring Girls Of Color To Tech," 15 Aug. 2019 In mid-2015, Facebook introduced a major algorithm change that pivoted readers away from journalism and news, to deliver more updates from their friends and family. Jennifer Grygiel, The Conversation, "Facebook algorithm changes suppressed journalism and meddled with democracy," 24 July 2019 In response, some companies have pivoted back to natural material, like wood or boar bristles. National Geographic, "How your toothbrush became a part of the plastic crisis," 14 June 2019 On the ground floor, a pivoting glass and marble front door gives way to an open-concept floor plan. Los Angeles Times, "Reggie Bush seeks a $10-million score for sleek Pacific Palisades home," 19 Aug. 2019 Another one of her sons recently sought drug treatment, and Roach has since pivoted her focus to address the homelessness crisis and drug abuse. Josephine Peterson, The Seattle Times, "Pierce County Council’s Pam Roach won’t seek reelection," 12 Aug. 2019 Gun rights supporters immediately pushed back on anything that could be interpreted as restricting gun ownership, and the Legislature’s Republican majority pivoted to expanding run rights. Washington Post, "Texas relaxed gun laws after recent mass shootings," 8 Aug. 2019 Hardware makers like Samsung have felt a similar sting, with profits pivoting downward due to a slump in wireless sales. Xavier Harding, Fortune, "Apple Is Now Letting People Apply for Its Credit Card. Can Its Rewards Spur Sales of the Next iPhone?," 6 Aug. 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.

See More

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



Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pivot

Statistics for pivot

Last Updated

3 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pivot

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on pivot

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pivot

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pivot

Spanish Central: Translation of pivot

Nglish: Translation of pivot for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pivot for Arabic Speakers

Comments on pivot

What made you want to look up pivot? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


readily or continually undergoing change

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!