Nearby words

  1. swine plague,
  2. swine vesicular disease,
  3. swine's cress,
  4. swineherd,
  5. swinepox,
  6. swing bridge,
  7. swing by,
  8. swing door,
  9. swing into action,
  10. swing leg


Origin of swing

before 900; Middle English swingen (verb), Old English swingan; cognate with German schwingen

Related formsswing·a·ble, adjective

Synonym study

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.




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


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

verb (used with object), swung, swing·ing.

to play (music) in the style of swing.

Origin of swing

special use of swing1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for swing

British Dictionary definitions for swing


verb swings, swinging or swung

to move or cause to move rhythmically to and fro, as a free-hanging object; sway
(intr) to move, walk, etc, with a relaxed and swaying motion
to pivot or cause to pivot, as on a hinge
to move or cause to move in a curvethe car swung around the bend
to move or cause to move by suspending or being suspended
to hang or be hung so as to be able to turn freely
(intr) slang to be hangedhe'll swing for it
to alter or cause to alter habits, a course, etc
(tr) informal to influence or manipulate successfullyI hope he can swing the deal
(tr foll by up) to raise or hoist, esp in a sweeping motion
(intr often foll by at) to hit out or strike (at), esp with a sweeping motion
(tr) to wave (a weapon, etc) in a sweeping motion; flourish
to arrange or play (music) with the rhythmically flexible and compulsive quality associated with jazz
(intr) (of popular music, esp jazz, or of the musicians who play it) to have this quality
slang to be lively and modern
(intr) slang to swap sexual partners in a group, esp habitually
(intr) cricket to bowl (a ball) with swing or (of a ball) to move with a swing
to turn (a ship or aircraft) in order to test compass error
swing both ways slang to enjoy sexual partners of both sexes
swing the lead informal to malinger or make up excuses


the act or manner of swinging or the distance covered while swinginga wide swing
a sweeping stroke or blow
boxing a wide punch from the side similar to but longer than a hook
cricket the lateral movement of a bowled ball through the air
any free-swaying motion
any curving movement; sweep
something that swings or is swung, esp a suspended seat on which a person may sit and swing back and forth
  1. a kind of popular dance music influenced by jazz, usually played by big bands and originating in the 1930s
  2. (as modifier)swing music
prosody a steady distinct rhythm or cadence in prose or verse
informal the normal round or paceget into the swing of things
  1. a fluctuation, as in some business activity, voting pattern etc
  2. (as modifier)able to bring about a swing in a voting patternswing party
  3. (as modifier)having a mixed voting history, and thus becoming a target for political election campaignersa swing state
US informal free scope; freedom of activity
mainly US a circular tour
Canadian a tour of a particular area or region
Canadian (in the North) a train of freight sleighs or canoes
go with a swing to go well; be successful
in full swing at the height of activity
swings and roundabouts equal advantages and disadvantages

Word Origin for 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

Word Origin and History for swing
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture 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.

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.