[piv-uh t]


verb (used without object)

to turn on or as on a pivot.
Basketball. to keep one foot in place while holding the ball and moving the other foot one step in any direction.

verb (used with object)

to mount on, attach by, or provide with a pivot or pivots.

Origin of pivot

1605–15; < French pivot (noun), pivoter (v.), Old French < ?
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pivot

Contemporary Examples of pivot

Historical Examples of pivot

  • The trussed-up pair started at once to pivot around on the floor.

    Slaves of Mercury

    Nat Schachner

  • In a word, the children—they are the pivot about which all regulations of marriage should turn.

    The Truth About Woman

    C. Gasquoine Hartley

  • But that is the pivot of the whole business, and the important point yet to be proved!

    A Nest of Spies

    Pierre Souvestre

  • Solder is flowed around the pivot to hold it securely in place.

    Boys' Book of Model Boats

    Raymond Francis Yates

  • At all events, he made it the pivot of all reasonings with me.

    Sir Jasper Carew

    Charles James Lever

British Dictionary definitions for pivot



a short shaft or pin supporting something that turns; fulcrum
the end of a shaft or arbor that terminates in a bearing
a person or thing upon which progress, success, etc, depends
the person or position from which a military formation takes its reference, as when altering position


(tr) to mount on or provide with a pivot or pivots
(intr) to turn on or as if on a pivot

Word Origin for pivot

C17: from Old French; perhaps related to Old Provençal pua tooth of a comb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for pivot

1610s, from French pivot, from Old French pivot "hinge pin, pivot" (12c.), also "penis," of uncertain origin. Figurative sense of "central point" is recorded from 1813.


by 1841, from French pivoter and from pivot (n). Related: Pivoted; pivoting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper