swiv·​et ˈswi-vət How to pronounce swivet (audio)
: a state of extreme agitation
in a swivet

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What Is a swivet?

People have been in a swivet over one thing or another since the 1890s. That, at least, is when the word first appeared in print in a collection of "Peculiar Words and Usages" of Kentucky published by the American Dialect Society. In the ensuing years, "swivet" popped up in other pockets of the South as well. Chances are it had already been around for some time before it was recorded in writing, and by the time it was, nobody could say where or how it had originated. What we do know is that its use gradually spread, so that by the 1950s it was regularly appearing in national magazines like Time and The New Yorker. Thus, it entered the mainstream of American English.

Examples of swivet in a Sentence

she's all in a swivet over the meeting
Recent Examples on the Web The swivet in Kiel speaks to a nascent shift in the German view of China, especially since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — and not solely because of Beijing’s backing of Moscow. Christopher F. Schuetze, New York Times, 10 May 2023 The world wide web is in a swivet about nepo babies. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 30 Jan. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'swivet.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


origin unknown

First Known Use

circa 1892, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of swivet was circa 1892


Dictionary Entries Near swivet

Cite this Entry

“Swivet.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swivet. Accessed 26 Sep. 2023.

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