verb (used with object), swung, swing·ing.
- to cause to move to and fro, sway, or oscillate, as something suspended from above: to swing one’s arms in walking.
- 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.
- 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.
- Aeronautics. to pull or turn (a propeller) by hand, especially in order to start the engine.
- to turn in a new direction in a curve, as if around a central point: to swing the car into the driveway.
- to suspend so as to hang freely, as a hammock or a door.
- Informal. to influence or win over; manage or arrange as desired: to swing votes; to swing a business deal.
- to direct, change, or shift (one’s interest, opinion, support, etc.).
- to turn (a ship or aircraft) to various headings in order to check compass deviation.
verb (used without object), swung, swing·ing.
- to move or sway to and fro, as a pendulum or other suspended object.
- to move to and fro in a swing, as for recreation.
- 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.
- to move in a curve, as around a corner or central point: The highway swings to the east.
- to move with a free, swaying motion, as soldiers on the march.
- to be suspended so as to hang freely, as a bell or hammock.
- 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.
- to change or shift one’s attention, interest, opinion, condition, etc.: He swung from mere indifference to outright scorn.
- to hit at someone or something, with the hand or something grasped in the hand: The batter swung and struck out.
- 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.
- Informal. to suffer death by hanging: He’ll swing for the crime.
- the act, manner, or progression of swinging; movement in alternate directions or in a particular direction.
- the amount or extent of such movement: to correct the swing of a pendulum.
- a curving movement or course.
- a moving of the body with a free, swaying motion, as in walking.
- a blow or stroke with the hand or an object grasped in the hands: His swing drove the ball over the fence.
- a change or shift in attitude, opinion, behavior, etc.
- a steady, marked rhythm or movement, as of verse or music.
- a regular upward or downward movement in the price of a commodity or of a security, or in any business activity.
- 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.
- freedom of action: to have free swing in carrying out a project.
- active operation; progression: to get into the swing of things.
- something that is swung or that swings.
- 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.
- the maximum diameter of the work machinable in a certain lathe or other machine tool.
- of or relating to a swing.
- capable of determining the outcome, as of an election; deciding, as in swing vote; swing voter.
- designed or constructed to permit swinging or hanging.
- acting to relieve other workers when needed, as at night.
- in full swing, operating at the highest speed or level of activity; in full operation: Automobile production is in full swing.
- swing round the circle, to tour an area on a political campaign.
- take a swing at, to strike or attempt to strike with the fist: to take a swing at a rude waiter.
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
- a kind of popular dance music influenced by jazz, usually played by big bands and originating in the 1930s
- (as modifier)swing music
- See swingbeat
- prosody a steady distinct rhythm or cadence in prose or verse
- informal the normal round or paceget 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 patternswing party
- (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
Old English swingan “to rush, fling oneself,” from Proto-Germanic *swenganan (cf. Old Saxon, Old High German swingan, Old Frisian swinga, German schwingen “to swing, swingle, oscillate”) denoting “violent circulatory motion.” The meaning “move freely back and forth” is first recorded 1540s. Related: Swung; swinging. Swing shift first recorded 1941, typically 4 p.m. to midnight.
late 14c., “a stroke with a weapon,” from swing (v.). Sense of “an apparatus that swings” is first recorded 1680s. Meaning “shift of public opinion” is from 1899. The meaning “variety of big dance-band music with a swinging rhythm” is first recorded 1933, though the sense has been traced back to 1888; its heyday was from mid-30s to mid-40s. Phrase in full swing “in total effect or operation” (1560s) probably is from bell-ringing.
Also, in full cry. In full operation, at the highest level of activity. For example, After the strike it would be some time before production was in full swing, or His supporters were out in full cry. The first expression, dating from the mid-1800s, alludes to the vigorous movement of a swinging body. The second employs full cry in the sense of “vigorous pursuit,” a usage dating from the late 1500s that may be dying out.
In addition to the idiom beginning with swing
- swing into action
- get into the swing of things
- in full swing
- not enough room to swing a car