- Sway is a rhythmic back and forth movement.
An example of sway is the act of moving rhythmically from side to side.
- To sway is to move rhythmically back and forth or to influence someone's behavior, action or thoughts.
- An example of sway is when you move back and forth with a baby in your arms to try to relax the baby.
- An example of sway is when you try, and succeed, to convince someone to share your political views by giving them details about your party.
- to swing or move from side to side or to and fro
- to vacillate or alternate between one position, opinion, etc. and another
- to lean or incline to one side; veer
- Obsolete to incline or tend in judgment or opinion
- Old Poet. to rule; reign; hold sway
Origin of swayMiddle English sweyen ; from Old Norse sveigja, to turn, bend: for Indo-European base see swathe
- to cause to swing or move from side to side
- to cause to vacillate
- to cause to lean or incline to one side
- to cause (a person, an opinion, actions, etc.) to be inclined a certain way or be turned from a given course; influence or divert: swayed by promises
- to wield (a scepter, etc.)
- to rule over or control; dominate
- Naut. to hoist (a mast, etc.) into place: usually with up
- a swaying or being swayed; movement to the side; a swinging, leaning, fluctuation, etc.
- influence, force, or control: moved by the sway of passion
- sovereign power or authority; rule; dominion
verbswayed, sway·ing, sways
- To swing back and forth or to and fro. See Synonyms at swing.
- To incline or bend to one side; veer: She swayed and put out a hand to steady herself.
- a. To incline toward change, as in opinion or feeling: He swayed toward trying out for the chorus.b. To fluctuate, as in outlook.
- To cause to swing back and forth or to and fro: The breeze swayed the wheat.
- To cause to incline or bend: The wind swayed the trees toward the house.
- To exert influence or control over: His speech swayed the voters.
- Nautical To hoist (a mast or yard) into position.
- Archaic a. To rule or govern.b. To wield, as a weapon or scepter.
- The act of moving from side to side with a swinging motion.
- Influence or control: The mayor has a lot of sway in our town.
Origin of swayMiddle English sweien, probably of Scandinavian origin.
- The act of swaying; a swaying motion; a swing or sweep of a weapon.
- A rocking or swinging motion.
- The old song caused a little sway in everyone in the room.
- Influence, weight, or authority that inclines to one side; as, the sway of desires.
- I doubt I'll hold much sway with someone so powerful.
- Preponderance; turn or cast of balance.
- Rule; dominion; control.
- A switch or rod used by thatchers to bind their work.
- The maximum amplitude of a vehicle's lateral motion
(third-person singular simple present sways, present participle swaying, simple past and past participle swayed)
- To move or swing from side to side; or backward and forward; to rock.
- The trees swayed in the breeze.
- sway to the music
- To move or wield with the hand; to swing; to wield.
- to sway the sceptre
- To influence or direct by power, authority, persuasion, or by moral force; to rule; to govern; to guide. Compare persuade.
- Do you think you can sway their decision?
- To cause to incline or swing to one side, or backward and forward; to bias; to turn; to bend; warp.
- reeds swayed by the wind
- judgment swayed by passion
- (nautical) To hoist (a mast or yard) into position
- to sway up the yards
- To be drawn to one side by weight or influence; to lean; to incline.
- To have weight or influence.
- To bear sway; to rule; to govern.
Earlier swey (“to fall, swoon”), from Middle English sweyen, from Old Norse sveigja (“to bend, bow”), from Proto-Germanic *swaigijaną (compare Saterland Frisian swooie (“to swing, wave, wobble”), Dutch zwaaien, Dutch Low Saxon sweuen (“to sway in the wind”), from Proto-Indo-European *swaig- (compare Lithuanian svaĩgti (“to become giddy or dizzy”), the second element of Avestan [script?] (pairi-šxuaxta, “to surround”), Sanskrit [script?] (svájate, “he embraces, enfolds”)). Cognate to Proto-Slavic *čьvati «swell, become bigger», Old Greek κυέω (kyéo, “become pregnant”).