sway

noun
\ ˈswā How to pronounce sway (audio) \

Definition of sway

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the action or an instance of swaying or of being swayed : an oscillating, fluctuating, or sweeping motion
2 : an inclination or deflection caused by or as if by swaying
3a : a controlling influence
b : sovereign power : dominion
c : the ability to exercise influence or authority : dominance

sway

verb
swayed; swaying; sways

Definition of sway (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to swing slowly and rhythmically back and forth from a base or pivot
b : to move gently from an upright to a leaning position
2 : to hold sway : act as ruler or governor
3 : to fluctuate or veer between one point, position, or opinion and another

transitive verb

1a : to cause to sway : set to swinging, rocking, or oscillating
b : to cause to bend downward to one side
c : to cause to turn aside : deflect, divert
2 archaic
a : wield
b : govern, rule
3a : to cause to vacillate
b : to exert a guiding or controlling influence on
4 : to hoist in place sway up a mast

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from sway

Verb

swayer noun

Choose the Right Synonym for sway

Noun

power, authority, jurisdiction, control, command, sway, dominion mean the right to govern or rule or determine. power implies possession of ability to wield force, authority, or influence. the power to mold public opinion authority implies power for a specific purpose within specified limits. granted the authority to manage her estate jurisdiction applies to official power exercised within prescribed limits. the bureau having jurisdiction over parks control stresses the power to direct and restrain. you are responsible for the students under your control command implies the power to make arbitrary decisions and compel obedience. the army officer in command sway suggests the extent of exercised power or influence. the empire extended its sway over the region dominion stresses sovereign power or supreme authority. given dominion over all the animals

Verb

swing, sway, oscillate, vibrate, fluctuate, waver, undulate mean to move from one direction to its opposite. swing implies a movement of something attached at one end or one side. the door suddenly swung open sway implies a slow swinging or teetering movement. trees swaying in the breeze oscillate stresses a usually regular alternation of direction. an oscillating fan vibrate suggests the rapid oscillation of an elastic body under stress or impact. the vibrating strings of a piano fluctuate suggests constant irregular changes of level, intensity, or value. fluctuating interest rates waver stresses irregular motion suggestive of reeling or tottering. the exhausted runner wavered before collapsing undulate suggests a gentle wavelike motion. an undulating sea of grass

affect, influence, touch, impress, strike, sway mean to produce or have an effect upon. affect implies the action of a stimulus that can produce a response or reaction. the sight affected her to tears influence implies a force that brings about a change (as in nature or behavior). our beliefs are influenced by our upbringing touch may carry a vivid suggestion of close contact and may connote stirring, arousing, or harming. plants touched by frost his emotions were touched by her distress impress stresses the depth and persistence of the effect. only one of the plans impressed him strike, similar to but weaker than impress, may convey the notion of sudden sharp perception or appreciation. struck by the solemnity of the occasion sway implies the acting of influences that are not resisted or are irresistible, with resulting change in character or course of action. politicians who are swayed by popular opinion

Examples of sway in a Sentence

Noun the sway of the ship He has come under the sway of terrorists. The ancient Romans held sway over most of Europe. Verb branches swaying in the breeze He swayed a moment before he fainted. The lawyer tried to sway the jury. She persisted in her argument, but I wouldn't let her sway me.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun McCarthy and McConnell are arguing that Democrats would have too much sway over the commission, though it was modeled on the bipartisan 9/11 Commission and crafted with extensive GOP input. Rick Klein, ABC News, 20 May 2021 But locations for new projects are limited, and advocates say the County Council has too much sway over which proposals move forward. Taylor Deville, baltimoresun.com, 29 Apr. 2021 The question, though, is how much sway does the Trump family really have over their supporters. Bruce Y. Lee, Forbes, 17 Apr. 2021 It was criticized by safety and environmental advocates, who said the federal government was ceding its responsibility by giving businesses too much sway. Washington Post, 24 Mar. 2021 His remarks were the latest indication of his concerns about letting the GOP's most pro-Trump, hardest-right factions gain too much sway in the party. Alan Fram, Star Tribune, 3 Feb. 2021 His remarks suggest concerns about letting the GOP’s most pro-Trump, hardest-right factions gain too much sway in the party. Author: Alan Fram, Steve Peoples, Brian Slodysko, Anchorage Daily News, 3 Feb. 2021 His comments suggest concerns about letting the GOP’s most pro-Trump, hardest-right factions gain too much sway in the party. Stephanie Toone, ajc, 2 Feb. 2021 Some people argue this gives too much sway to less-populous states. Anne Michaud, WSJ, 9 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The two singers gel in a way that would make any couple come together and sway in unison. Kevin L. Clark, Essence, 28 May 2021 Public health experts say encouragement from a person’s social circle can help sway someone to get vaccinated. New York Times, 20 May 2021 Arguments in the comments, slurs, bad language, or even harsh criticism has no place on your platform, and can actually sway how others view you. Stephanie Burns, Forbes, 10 May 2021 Rivals to Triller such as TikTok have deals with UMG, and the availability of songs on one platform over another could sway where users spend their time. Wendy Lee, Los Angeles Times, 20 May 2021 Such criticism might not always sway the mind of those elected to lead tribal governments. Nick Martin, The New Republic, 18 May 2021 His support for the program could sway some of the board’s members on the Board of Education, which has been evenly divided on the topic. Jacob Calvin Meyer, baltimoresun.com, 28 Apr. 2021 Washington will sway the selection committee in ASU's favor. Jeff Metcalfe, The Arizona Republic, 17 Apr. 2021 For now, the 45th commander in chief's order to move the command stands, but the results of the reviews could sway his replacement or Congress to reverse it. Abraham Mahshie, Washington Examiner, 13 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sway.' 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 sway

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

circa 1500, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for sway

Noun

Middle English sweigh, from sweyen

Verb

alteration of earlier swey to fall, swoon, from Middle English sweyen, probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse sveigja to sway; akin to Lithuanian svaigti to become dizzy

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sway

Time Traveler for sway

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for sway

Last Updated

15 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sway.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sway. Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for sway

sway

noun

English Language Learners Definition of sway

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a slow movement back and forth
: a controlling force or influence

sway

verb

English Language Learners Definition of sway (Entry 2 of 2)

: to move slowly back and forth
: to cause (someone) to agree with you or to share your opinion

sway

verb
\ ˈswā How to pronounce sway (audio) \
swayed; swaying

Kids Definition of sway

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to swing slowly back and forth or from side to side Tree branches were swaying in the wind.
2 : to change or cause to change between one point, position, or opinion and another The lawyer tried to sway the jury.

sway

noun

Kids Definition of sway (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act of slowly swinging back and forth or from side to side
2 : a controlling influence or force : rule The country is under the sway of a tyrant.

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Dog Breeds

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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