[swiv-uh l]


verb (used with object), swiv·eled, swiv·el·ing or (especially British) swiv·elled, swiv·el·ling.

to turn or pivot on or as if on a swivel: He swiveled his chair around.
to fasten by a swivel; furnish with a swivel.

verb (used without object), swiv·eled, swiv·el·ing or (especially British) swiv·elled, swiv·el·ling.

to turn on or if as on a swivel.

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. 2019

Related Words for swiveled

pivot, rotate, revolve, whirl, hinge, turn, pirouette

Examples from the Web for swiveled

Contemporary Examples of swiveled

  • Cash teased his hair into a pompadour, swiveled his hips, amped up his drawl, and belted out a tune worthy of a quarter million.

  • He swiveled his head to fix me with his gaze, and then turned it back to the road.

  • When we met, she was wearing a purple tank top and dark jeans and giggling as she swiveled back and forth to her interpreter.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Hugo and the Hottie

    Bryan Curtis

    October 8, 2009

  • He waved at onlookers below, then swiveled and waved at others on the porch outside the National Gallery.

    The Daily Beast logo
    London's Living Sculptures

    Anthony Haden-Guest

    August 6, 2009

Historical Examples of swiveled

  • 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



a coupling device which allows an attached object to turn freely
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

verb -els, -elling or -elled or US -els, -eling or -eled

to turn or swing on or as if on a pivot
(tr) to provide with, secure by, or support with a swivel
Derived Formsswivel-like, adjective

Word Origin for swivel

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."



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper