\ˈswiŋ \
swung\ˈswəŋ \; swinging\ˈswiŋ-iŋ \

Definition of swing 

(Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to cause to move vigorously through a wide arc or circle swing an ax

b : to cause to sway to and fro

c(1) : to cause to turn on an axis

(2) : to cause to face or move in another direction swing the car into a side road

2 : to suspend so as to permit swaying or turning

3 : to convey by suspension cranes swinging cargo into the ship's hold

4a(1) : to influence decisively swing a lot of votes

(2) : to bring around by influence

b : to handle successfully : manage wasn't able to swing a new car on his income swing a deal

5 : to play or sing (something, such as a melody) in the style of swing music

intransitive verb

1 : to move freely to and fro especially in suspension from an overhead support

2a : to die by hanging

b : to hang freely from a support

3 : to move in or describe a circle or arc:

a : to turn on a hinge or pivot

b : to turn in place

c : to convey oneself by grasping a fixed support swing aboard the train

4a : to have a steady pulsing rhythm

b : to play or sing with a lively compelling rhythm specifically : to play swing music

5 : to shift or fluctuate from one condition, form, position, or object of attention or favor to another swing constantly from optimism to pessimism and back— Sinclair Lewis

6a : to move along rhythmically

b : to start up in a smooth vigorous manner ready to swing into action

7 : to hit or aim at something with a sweeping arm movement

8a : to be lively, exciting, and up-to-date

b : to engage freely in sex



Definition of swing (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : an act or instance of swinging : swinging movement: such as

a(1) : a stroke or blow delivered with a sweeping arm movement a batter with a powerful swing

(2) : a sweeping or rhythmic movement of the body or a bodily part

(3) : a dance figure in which two dancers revolve with joined arms or hands

(4) : jazz dancing in moderate tempo with a lilting syncopation

b(1) : the regular movement of a freely suspended object (such as a pendulum) along an arc and back

(2) : back and forth sweep the swing of the tides

c(1) : steady pulsing rhythm (as in poetry or music)

(2) : a steady vigorous movement characterizing an activity or creative work

d(1) : a trend toward a high or low point in a fluctuating cycle (as of business activity)

(2) : an often periodic shift from one condition, form, position, or object of attention or favor to another

2a : liberty of action

b(1) : the driving power of something swung or hurled

(2) : steady vigorous advance : driving speed a train approaching at full swing

3 : the progression of an activity, process, or phase of existence the work is in full swing

4 : the arc or range through which something swings

5 : something that swings freely from or on a support especially : a seat suspended by a rope or chains for swinging to and fro on for pleasure

6a : a curving course or outline

b : a course from and back to a point : a circular tour

7 : jazz that is played (as by a big band) with a steady beat and that uses the harmonic structures of popular songs and the blues as a basis for improvisations and arrangements

8 : a short pass in football thrown to a back running to the outside



Definition of swing (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : of or relating to musical swing a swing band swing music swing dancing

2 : that may swing often decisively either way on an issue or in an election swing voters a swing state

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Choose the Right Synonym for swing


swing, wave, flourish, brandish, thrash mean to wield or cause to move to and fro or up and down. swing implies regular or uniform movement. swing the rope back and forth wave usually implies smooth or continuous motion. waving the flag flourish suggests vigorous, ostentatious, graceful movement. flourished the winning lottery ticket brandish implies threatening or menacing motion. brandishing a knife thrash suggests vigorous, abrupt, violent movement. an infant thrashing his arms about

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

Examples of swing in a Sentence


The sheets swung on the clothesline. The clock's pendulum stopped swinging. She sat on the edge of the table, swinging her legs. The monkeys were swinging from branch to branch high up in the trees. I swung my suitcase into the backseat of the car. She sat on the counter and swung her legs over to the other side. She swung the door open. Be careful how you swing that ax. She swung the bat but missed the ball. She swung her purse at me.


One swing of the hammer was all it took to drive the nail through the board. the swing of a pendulum upward swings in the stock market The kids were playing on the swings. We sat on the porch swing and watched the neighbors.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Instead, Baldwin needs to replicate her 2012 success in historically purple counties that two years ago swung unusually hard from Obama to Trump. USA TODAY, "'Pivot counties' will be key in fight for Senate control," 10 July 2018 The notion that the game could have swung in the sixth didn’t, either. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Paul Daugherty: With Tyler Mahle, you get a glimpse of the Cincinnati Reds' future," 20 June 2018 Smith, a left-hander who also swings from the left side, had solid singles to center in two at-bats Wednesday off Andrew Suarez. Craig Davis, Sun-Sentinel.com, "A closer look: Miami Marlins 5, San Francisco Giants 4," 14 June 2018 The lack of southpaws could play to the Beavers' strengths with three of their top five hitters -- Steven Kwan, Trevor Larnach and switch-hitter Adley Rutschman -- swinging from the left side. Ron Richmond For The Oregonian/oregonlive, OregonLive.com, "Oregon State baseball brings recent College World Series experience into opener against North Carolina," 12 June 2018 At that point, Happy’s trunk began to swing around like a helicopter blade. Richie Hertzberg, National Geographic, "This Baby Elephant Might Be Feeling 'Awkward'," 7 June 2018 And most importantly, the marker of good taste has swung in the opposite direction: toward inclusiveness and shareability, toward a big tent that discriminates against no style or genre. Ryu Spaeth, The New Republic, "What Happened to the Cool Jerk of Indie Rock?," 4 June 2018 Most of the time my job doesn’t require swinging with @priyankachopra. Sarah Spellings, The Cut, "Talking With Priyanka Chopra on a Swing in the Hamptons," 13 July 2018 Monday: Rhys Hoskins swings for the fences in the Home Run Derby, 8 p.m. Scott Lauber, Philly.com, "Phillies' Maikel Franco making a play to stay | Extra Innings," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The proportion is ever higher in Wisconsin — 46 percent — where Baldwin, a liberal Democrat is trying to win a second term in a swing state Trump won by less than one percent. Fredreka Schouten, USA TODAY, "Exclusive: Secret money funds more than 40% of outside congressional ads," 12 July 2018 The lead reinforces that Brown is in touch with working-class people across an important swing state – the same voters who played a big role in sending Trump to Washington. Jason Williams, Cincinnati.com, "PX column: Why Sherrod Brown could be Democrats' best hope for defeating Donald Trump," 6 July 2018 The candidate-specific ads began running before Justice Kennedy announced his retirement and were targeted at an audience that included users in California and New York, two Democratic strongholds, but also in Florida, a swing state. Kevin Roose, New York Times, "Facebook Ads Offer Peek at Looming Supreme Court Fight," 3 July 2018 Estimates are that Pennsylvania, a key swing state, may have to spend up to $60 million to replace its voting machines. Warren Richey, The Christian Science Monitor, "Ahead of midterms, states scrambling to fend off cyberattacks," 3 July 2018 In several swing states, voters are closely divided, which could worsen the political tumult if the Supreme Court returns the issue to state control. Evan Halper, latimes.com, "If a reshaped Supreme Court tosses abortion decisions back to states, several would move fast to outlaw the procedures," 29 June 2018 Working under then-digital director Brad Parscale, who is now campaign manager for Trump's reelection, Oczkowski's team helped crunch voter data to find potential donors and monitored a daily tracking poll of swing states. Issie Lapowsky, WIRED, "Congress Grills Cambridge Analytica Alum on New Firm’s Data Use," 28 June 2018 Also on the list are cranberries, which often come from Wisconsin, the home state of House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, a Republican, and orange juice, produced in the key swing state of Florida. Washington Post, BostonGlobe.com, "EU trade tariffs take effect, in latest rift between US and its closest allies," 22 June 2018 Florida, the nation's largest swing state, is viewed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and by state political leaders as a likely target of cyber attacks. Steve Bousquet, miamiherald, "Is your ballot secure? Florida gets $19.2 million in federal money to make sure it is," 7 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

And Pompeo may play a swing role, a hard-line former congressman and CIA director who, in his new job, seems determined to give diplomacy a fair shot. Mark Lander, BostonGlobe.com, "Clashing views on Iran reflect a new balance of power in the cabinet," 12 May 2018 The University of South Alabama softball team will close out its 10-game road swing Wednesday night when the Jaguars travel to take on regional rival Southern Mississippi. Usa Athletic Media Relations, AL.com, "South Alabama softball closes out 10-game road swing at Southern Miss on Wednesday," 6 Mar. 2018 The University of South Alabama will continue its current 10-game road swing Wednesday night as the Jaguars travel to take on in-state rival UAB. Usa Athletic Media Relations, AL.com, "South Alabama softball continues 10-game road swing at UAB Wednesday," 27 Feb. 2018 But others in the party — most significantly, a half-dozen senators running for re-election in Democratic and swing states — face a tougher choice. Alexander Burns, New York Times, "Trump changes the game for Sanders," 4 May 2016

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


13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1933, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for swing


Middle English, to beat, fling, hurl, rush, from Old English swingan to beat, fling oneself, rush; akin to Old High German swingan to fling, rush

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Learn More about swing

Statistics for swing

Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for swing

The first known use of swing was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for swing



English Language Learners Definition of swing

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: to move backward and forward or from side to side while hanging from something

: to move with a smooth, curving motion

: to move (your arm, a tool, etc.) with a quick, curving motion especially to try to hit something



English Language Learners Definition of swing (Entry 2 of 3)

: an act of moving something with a quick, sweeping motion : an act of swinging a bat, fist, etc.

: the movement of something that swings backward and forward or from side to side

: a usually sudden change from one state or condition to another



English Language Learners Definition of swing (Entry 3 of 3)

: of or relating to the style of jazz music called swing

: not certain to vote for a particular candidate or party in an election and therefore often able to decide the result of the election


\ˈswiŋ \
swung\ˈswəŋ \; swinging

Kids Definition of swing

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to move rapidly in a sweeping curve I swung the bat.

2 : to turn on a hinge or pivot The door swung open.

3 : to move with a curving motion Monkeys can swing from branch to branch. She swung her legs up on the bed.

4 : to turn or move quickly in a particular direction He swung the light in the direction of the noise.

5 : to move back and forth or from side to side while hanging from a fixed point Sheets swung on the clothes line.

6 : to move back and forth in or on a swing

7 : to manage or handle successfully I'll work two jobs if I can swing it.



Kids Definition of swing (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a seat usually hung by overhead ropes and used to move back and forth

2 : an act of moving something (as a bat) rapidly in a sweeping curve

3 : a sweeping movement, blow, or rhythm

4 : the distance through which something sways to and fro The class measured the swing of a pendulum.

5 : a style of jazz marked by lively rhythm and played mostly for dancing

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Comments on swing

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


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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