\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

The weather, unexpectedly, is in the 50s—the cold tail of a massive spring storm that swung through the region the day before. Nate Berg, Curbed, "Can engineering save Louisiana’s coastline?," 7 Nov. 2018 In baseball, by contrast, the batter has to swing through a strike zone of about 3.5 square feet at a ball thrown from 60 feet away at more than 100 miles per hour. Umair Irfan, Vox, "World Cup shootouts: why the team that goes first usually wins," 11 July 2018 Confidence: High Tomorrow night: A weak cold front swinging through could (20 percent chance) set off a passing shower or thunderstorm. Jason Samenow, Washington Post, "D.C.-area forecast: Humidity to slowly return this week, but no extreme heat and low rain chances," 9 July 2018 Duffy swung through a third strike from Milwaukee starter Brent Suter in the third inning of the Royals' 5-4 victory. Pete Grathoff, kansascity, "Royals' Danny Duffy took a mighty swing and ... his bat flew into Brewers' dugout," 28 June 2018 But given their prominence in art, researchers assumed the animals must once have swung through the treetops of central China. Gretchen Vogel, Science | AAAS, "Vanished ape found in ancient Chinese tomb, giving clues to its disappearance," 21 June 2018 Herrera actually fouled off the last two pitches before swinging through a 103.7 mph sinker to end his 45-game on-base streak. Scott Lauber, Philly.com, "A closer look at Phillies reliever Tommy Hunter's season so far | Extra Innings," 20 June 2018 That’s all cause for alarm: Harper looks as lost as can be and is swinging through absolutely everything. Si.com Staff, SI.com, "Nine Innings: Jason Heyward's Turning Point, Expansion Possibilities and Bryce Harper's Struggles," 18 June 2018 From a tenor saxophone’s trill to a train’s whistle, and from sitting on the street to swinging through the air, there was much to hear and experience for hundreds of families attending Franklin Park Fest. Rachel K. Hindery, chicagotribune.com, "Music, food, rides and more: Franklin Park Fest tradition continues," 11 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Halloweekend is in full swing and celebs are not messing around this year. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Ross Butler and Noah Centineo Dress as Wolverine and Gaston for Halloween 2018," 27 Oct. 2018 The steady upward march of oil demand has left oil markets prone to price swings and spikes. Russell Gold, WSJ, "The Shale Boom Calmed Oil Markets, but for How Much Longer?," 26 Oct. 2018 Pulling away from your loved one to avoid mood swings and confrontations. Korin Miller, SELF, "Jamie Lee Curtis Says She Hid an Opioid Addiction for 10 Years," 25 Oct. 2018 According to Harvard Medical School, antidepressant withdrawal symptoms include mood swings and feeling agitated, anxious, or manic. Eileen Reslen, Good Housekeeping, "The Important Things You Missed During 'This Is Us' Last Night," 3 Oct. 2018 But for all the obvious care and love lavished on the device, the overall look is, in this reviewer’s opinion, a swing and a miss. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, "Thrustmaster TPR: The best flight sim pedals you can buy in a store like a normal person," 23 Sep. 2018 Kim shared a boomerang on a beachside tree swing in a pink bikini. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "How the Kardashian Family Spent Their Vacation Time in Bali," 29 Oct. 2018 Duffy later left the game after twisting his ankle on a swing in the eighth, but Cash said he was removed because of the score and is expected to be in the lineup on Sunday. Brian Hall, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Tampa Bay Rays turn three-inning outburst into 19-6 win over Minnesota Twins," 14 July 2018 Those fortunate enough to be in the super high-earner category should still pay a larger share, but this formula shouldn’t be so distorted that swings in the economy have major impact on the flow of tax dollars to the state treasury. sacbee, "Tax haircuts and concerts – or the rich? Californians consider the options," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The party official also shared with Vox internal monitoring reports indicating a high volume of malicious Twitter handles targeting two swing races key to Democratic efforts to retake the House. Benjamin Wofford, Vox, "The midterms are already hacked. You just don’t know it yet.," 25 Oct. 2018 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

9 Dec 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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More from Merriam-Webster on swing

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with swing

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for swing

Spanish Central: Translation of swing

Nglish: Translation of swing for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of swing for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about swing

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