• synonyms


[swiv-uh l]
  1. a fastening device that allows the thing fastened to turn around freely upon it, especially to turn in a full circle.
  2. such a device consisting of two parts, each of which turns around independently, as a compound link of a chain, one part of which turns freely in the other by means of a headed pin or the like.
  3. a pivoted support allowing a gun to turn around in a horizontal plane.
  4. a swivel gun.
  5. a device attached to a loom and used as a shuttle to weave extra threads in the production of small figures, especially dots.
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verb (used with object), swiv·eled, swiv·el·ing or (especially British) swiv·elled, swiv·el·ling.
  1. to turn or pivot on or as if on a swivel: He swiveled his chair around.
  2. to fasten by a swivel; furnish with a swivel.
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verb (used without object), swiv·eled, swiv·el·ing or (especially British) swiv·elled, swiv·el·ling.
  1. to turn on or if as on a swivel.
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Origin of swivel

1275–1325; Middle English (noun), equivalent to swiv- (weak stem of Old English swīfan to revolve; cognate with Old Norse svīfa to turn) + -el instrumental suffix
Related formsswiv·el·like, adjectiveun·swiv·el, verb (used with object), un·swiv·eled, un·swiv·el·ing or (especially British) un·swiv·elled, un·swiv·el·ling.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for swiveled

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He had swiveled dangerously on the Secretary of the Treasury again.

    The Adventurer

    Cyril M. Kornbluth

  • Coleman swiveled around in his chair and squinted at the wall clock.

    The Velvet Glove

    Harry Harrison

  • He swiveled his head to examine the boy who had picked up the books.

    The Best Made Plans

    Everett B. Cole

  • But the machine, roaring into sudden life, swiveled rapidly and threw him off.

  • He swiveled his chair around and regarded them with interested eyes.

    Smugglers' Reef

    John Blaine

British Dictionary definitions for swiveled


  1. a coupling device which allows an attached object to turn freely
  2. such a device made of two parts which turn independently, such as a compound link of a chain
    1. a pivot on which is mounted a gun that may be swung from side to side in a horizontal plane
    2. Also called: swivel gunthe gun itself
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verb -els, -elling or -elled or US -els, -eling or -eled
  1. to turn or swing on or as if on a pivot
  2. (tr) to provide with, secure by, or support with a swivel
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Derived Formsswivel-like, adjective

Word Origin

C14: from Old English swīfan to turn; see swift
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 swiveled



c.1300, from frequentative form of stem of Old English verb swifan "to move in a course, sweep" (a class I strong verb), from Proto-Germanic *swipanan (cf. Old Frisian swiva "to be uncertain," Old Norse svifa "to rove, ramble, drift"), from PIE root *swei- "swing, bend, move in a sweeping manner." Middle English swive was the principal slang for "to have sexual intercourse with," a sense that developed c.1300. This probably explains why, though the root is verbal, the verb swivel is not attested in Modern English until 1794. Cf. Middle English phrase smal-swivinge men "men who copulate infrequently."

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1794, from swivel (n.). Related: Swiveled; swiveling; swivelled; swivelling.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper