[ swing ]
See synonyms for: swingswingingswung on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object),swung, swing·ing.
  1. to cause to move to and fro, sway, or oscillate, as something suspended from above: to swing one's arms in walking.

  2. to cause to move in alternate directions or in either direction around a fixed point, on an axis, or on a line of support, as a door on hinges.

  1. to move (the hand or something held) with an oscillating or rotary movement: to swing one's fists; to swing a club around one's head.

  2. Aeronautics. to pull or turn (a propeller) by hand, especially in order to start the engine.

  3. to turn in a new direction in a curve, as if around a central point: to swing the car into the driveway.

  4. to suspend so as to hang freely, as a hammock or a door.

  5. Informal. to influence or win over; manage or arrange as desired: to swing votes; to swing a business deal.

  6. to direct, change, or shift (one's interest, opinion, support, etc.).

  7. to turn (a ship or aircraft) to various headings in order to check compass deviation.

verb (used without object),swung, swing·ing.
  1. to move or sway to and fro, as a pendulum or other suspended object.

  2. to move to and fro in a swing, as for recreation.

  1. to move in alternate directions or in either direction around a point, an axis, or a line of support, as a gate on its hinges.

  2. to move in a curve, as around a corner or central point: The highway swings to the east.

  3. to move with a free, swaying motion, as soldiers on the march.

  4. to be suspended so as to hang freely, as a bell or hammock.

  5. to move by grasping a support with the hands and drawing up the arms or using the momentum of the swaying body: a monkey swinging through trees.

  6. to change or shift one's attention, interest, opinion, condition, etc.: He swung from mere indifference to outright scorn.

  7. to hit at someone or something, with the hand or something grasped in the hand: The batter swung and struck out.

  8. Slang.

    • to be characterized by a modern, lively atmosphere: Las Vegas swings all year.

    • to be stylish, trendy, hip, etc., especially in pursuing enjoyment.

    • to engage uninhibitedly in sexual activity.

    • (of married couples) to exchange partners for sexual activity.

  9. Informal. to suffer death by hanging: He'll swing for the crime.

  1. the act, manner, or progression of swinging; movement in alternate directions or in a particular direction.

  2. the amount or extent of such movement: to correct the swing of a pendulum.

  1. a curving movement or course.

  2. a moving of the body with a free, swaying motion, as in walking.

  3. a blow or stroke with the hand or an object grasped in the hands: His swing drove the ball over the fence.

  4. a change or shift in attitude, opinion, behavior, etc.

  5. a steady, marked rhythm or movement, as of verse or music.

  6. a regular upward or downward movement in the price of a commodity or of a security, or in any business activity.

  7. Informal.

    • a work period coming between the regular day and night shifts.

    • a change by a group of workers from working one shift to working another.

  8. freedom of action: to have free swing in carrying out a project.

  9. active operation; progression: to get into the swing of things.

  10. something that is swung or that swings.

  11. a seat suspended from above by means of a loop of rope or between ropes or rods, on which one may sit and swing to and fro for recreation.

  12. the maximum diameter of the work machinable in a certain lathe or other machine tool.

  1. of or relating to a swing.

  2. capable of determining the outcome, as of an election; deciding, as in swing vote; swing voter.

  1. designed or constructed to permit swinging or hanging.

  2. acting to relieve other workers when needed, as at night.

Idioms about swing

  1. in full swing, operating at the highest speed or level of activity; in full operation: Automobile production is in full swing.

  2. swing round the circle, to tour an area on a political campaign.

  1. take a swing at, to strike or attempt to strike with the fist: to take a swing at a rude waiter.

Origin of swing

First recorded before 900; Middle English verb swingen “strike with a weapon, smite,” Old English swingan; cognate with German schwingen

synonym study For swing

10. Swing, sway, oscillate, rock suggest a movement back and forth. Swing expresses the comparatively regular motion to and fro of a body supported from the end or ends, especially from above: A lamp swings from the ceiling. To sway is to swing gently and is used especially of fixed objects or of persons: Young oaks sway in the breeze. Oscillate refers to the smooth, regular, alternating movement of a body within certain limits between two fixed points. Rock indicates the slow and regular movement back and forth of a body, as on curved supports: A cradle rocks.

Other words for swing

Other words from swing

  • swing·a·ble, adjective

Other definitions for swing (2 of 2)

[ swing ]

  1. Also called Big Band music, swing music . a style of jazz, popular especially in the 1930s and often arranged for a large dance band, marked by a smoother beat and more flowing phrasing than Dixieland and having less complex harmonies and rhythms than modern jazz.

  2. the rhythmic element that excites dancers and listeners to move in time to jazz music.

  1. of, relating to, or characteristic of swing: a swing record.

verb (used with object),swung, swing·ing.
  1. to play (music) in the style of swing.

Origin of swing

First recorded in 1930–35 as swing band and swing music; special use of swing1

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use swing in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for swing


/ (swɪŋ) /

verbswings, swinging or swung
  1. to move or cause to move rhythmically to and fro, as a free-hanging object; sway

  2. (intr) to move, walk, etc, with a relaxed and swaying motion

  1. to pivot or cause to pivot, as on a hinge

  2. to move or cause to move in a curve: the car swung around the bend

  3. to move or cause to move by suspending or being suspended

  4. to hang or be hung so as to be able to turn freely

  5. (intr) slang to be hanged: he'll swing for it

  6. to alter or cause to alter habits, a course, etc

  7. (tr) informal to influence or manipulate successfully: I hope he can swing the deal

  8. (tr foll by up) to raise or hoist, esp in a sweeping motion

  9. (intr often foll by at) to hit out or strike (at), esp with a sweeping motion

  10. (tr) to wave (a weapon, etc) in a sweeping motion; flourish

  11. to arrange or play (music) with the rhythmically flexible and compulsive quality associated with jazz

  12. (intr) (of popular music, esp jazz, or of the musicians who play it) to have this quality

  13. slang to be lively and modern

  14. (intr) slang to swap sexual partners in a group, esp habitually

  15. (intr) cricket to bowl (a ball) with swing or (of a ball) to move with a swing

  16. to turn (a ship or aircraft) in order to test compass error

  17. swing both ways slang to enjoy sexual partners of both sexes

  18. swing the lead informal to malinger or make up excuses

  1. the act or manner of swinging or the distance covered while swinging: a wide swing

  2. a sweeping stroke or blow

  1. boxing a wide punch from the side similar to but longer than a hook

  2. cricket the lateral movement of a bowled ball through the air

  3. any free-swaying motion

  4. any curving movement; sweep

  5. something that swings or is swung, esp a suspended seat on which a person may sit and swing back and forth

    • a kind of popular dance music influenced by jazz, usually played by big bands and originating in the 1930s

    • (as modifier): swing music

  6. prosody a steady distinct rhythm or cadence in prose or verse

  7. informal the normal round or pace: get into the swing of things

    • a fluctuation, as in some business activity, voting pattern etc

    • (as modifier) able to bring about a swing in a voting pattern: swing party

    • (as modifier) having a mixed voting history, and thus becoming a target for political election campaigners: a swing state

  8. US informal free scope; freedom of activity

  9. mainly US a circular tour

  10. Canadian a tour of a particular area or region

  11. Canadian (in the North) a train of freight sleighs or canoes

  12. go with a swing to go well; be successful

  13. in full swing at the height of activity

  14. swings and roundabouts equal advantages and disadvantages

Origin of swing

Old English swingan; related to Old Frisian swinga, Old High German swingan

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

Cultural definitions for swing


A kind of jazz generally played by a “Big Band” and characterized by a lively rhythm suitable for dancing. The bands of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, and Glenn Miller played swing.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with swing


In addition to the idiom beginning with swing

  • swing into action

also see:

  • get into the swing of things
  • in full swing
  • not enough room to swing a car

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.