- to move or swing to and fro, as something fixed at one end or resting on a support.
- to move or incline to one side or in a particular direction.
- to incline in opinion, sympathy, tendency, etc.: She swayed toward conservatism.
- to fluctuate or vacillate, as in opinion: His ideas swayed this way and that.
- to wield power; exercise rule.
- to cause to move to and fro or to incline from side to side.
- to cause to move to one side or in a particular direction.
- Nautical. to hoist or raise (a yard, topmast, or the like) (usually followed by up).
- to cause to fluctuate or vacillate.
- to cause (the mind, emotions, etc., or a person) to incline or turn in a specified way; influence.
- to cause to swerve, as from a purpose or a course of action: He swayed them from their plan.
- to dominate; direct.
- to wield, as a weapon or scepter.
- to rule; govern.
- the act of swaying; swaying movement.
- rule; dominion: He held all Asia in his sway.
- dominating power or influence: Many voters were under his sway.
Origin of sway
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for sway
Many millions have been spent on television ads in North Carolina, as groups on the right and left try to sway the electorate.Why Voters Are So Totally Checked Out
October 22, 2014
None of these studies, campaigns, or assertions should be enough to sway public opinion towards or against pot.Another Hazy Week For Weed
September 1, 2014
You have to sway from one foot to another to keep them from staking their claim.Whatever You Do Someone Will Die. A Short Story About Impossible Choices in Iraq
Nathan Bradley Bethea
August 31, 2014
He even set the mic down before his time was up, he only finished after being coaxed back onto the stage by Sway.America’s Poets: Battle Rap Gets Real
July 15, 2014
It may mean celebrities are so numerous they constitute a voting bloc that could sway state and federal elections.Welcome to Showbiz Sharia Law
P. J. O’Rourke
May 4, 2014
Kirkwood rose, balancing himself against the leap and sway of the boat.The Black Bag
Louis Joseph Vance
From them dates the sway of Aristotle throughout the middle ages.Initiation into Philosophy
I want to be able to go to her, knowing that no other woman can sway me from her for a second.Changing Winds
St. John G. Ervine
But the whole strength and sway of their king is derived from the authority of the Romans.Tacitus on Germany
But the Field of poppies and daisies begins to sway as under a gale.The Book of Khalid
- (usually intr) to swing or cause to swing to and fro
- (usually intr) to lean or incline or cause to lean or incline to one side or in different directions in turn
- (usually intr) to vacillate or cause to vacillate between two or more opinions
- to be influenced or swerve or influence or cause to swerve to or from a purpose or opinion
- (tr) nautical to hoist (a yard, mast, or other spar)
- archaic, or poetic to rule or wield power (over)
- (tr) archaic to wield (a weapon)
- control; power
- a swinging or leaning movement
- archaic dominion; governing authority
- hold sway to be master; reign
Word Origin and History for sway
c.1300, "to go, glide, move," probably from Old Norse sveigja "to bend, swing, give way," from Proto-Germanic *swaigijanan and related to swag (v.) and swing. The sense of "swing, wave, waver" is first recorded c.1500. Related: Swayed; swaying. The noun meaning "controlling influence" (to be under the sway of) is 1510s, from a transitive sense of the verb in Dutch and other languages. The verb in this sense is recorded in English from 1590s.
Idioms and Phrases with sway
see hold sway.