Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To swing back and forth or to and fro. synonym: swing.
  • intransitive verb To incline or bend to one side; veer.
  • intransitive verb To incline toward change, as in opinion or feeling.
  • intransitive verb To fluctuate, as in outlook.
  • intransitive verb To cause to swing back and forth or to and fro.
  • intransitive verb To cause to incline or bend.
  • intransitive verb To exert influence or control over.
  • intransitive verb Nautical To hoist (a mast or yard) into position.
  • intransitive verb To rule or govern.
  • intransitive verb To wield, as a weapon or scepter.
  • noun The act of moving from side to side with a swinging motion.
  • noun Influence or control.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Inclination; preponderance; movement toward one side or the other, or toward both alternately; swing.
  • noun Weight; force, as of some heavy or powerful agent.
  • noun Rule; control; government: probably in allusion to the sway of the scepter, or of the sword, embodying and illustrating government.
  • noun An instrument of rule or management.
  • noun A switch used by thatchers to bind their Work.
  • To bend to one side, as by excess of weight; hang in a heavy, unsteady manner; lean away from the perpendicular; swag: as, a wall that sways to the west; also, to bend or lean first to one side and then to the other; swing backward and forward.
  • To move or incline to one side, or to one side and then to the other, literally or figuratively; incline to one side, party, etc., or to one and then to the other; vacillate, as judgment or opinion.
  • To have weight or influence; bear rule; govern.
  • To advance steadily.
  • To cause to move backward and forward; wave or swing; hence, to wield with the hand.
  • To cause to bend or move aside; bias, literally or figuratively; cause to lean or incline to one side; prejudice.
  • To rule; govern; influence or direct by power and authority, or by moral force; manage.
  • Nautical, to hoist; raise: particularly said of yards and topmasts.
  • Guide, Direct (see guide), control.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To be drawn to one side by weight or influence; to lean; to incline.
  • intransitive verb To move or swing from side to side; or backward and forward.
  • intransitive verb To have weight or influence.
  • intransitive verb To bear sway; to rule; to govern.
  • noun The act of swaying; a swaying motion; the swing or sweep of a weapon.
  • noun Influence, weight, or authority that inclines to one side.
  • noun Preponderance; turn or cast of balance.
  • noun Rule; dominion; control.
  • noun Prov. Eng. A switch or rod used by thatchers to bind their work.
  • transitive verb To move or wield with the hand; to swing; to wield.
  • transitive verb To influence or direct by power and authority; by persuasion, or by moral force; to rule; to govern; to guide.
  • transitive verb To cause to incline or swing to one side, or backward and forward; to bias; to turn; to bend; warp.
  • transitive verb (Naut.) To hoist.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The act of swaying; a swaying motion; a swing or sweep of a weapon.
  • noun A rocking or swinging motion.
  • noun Influence, weight, or authority that inclines to one side; as, the sway of desires.
  • noun Preponderance; turn or cast of balance.
  • noun Rule; dominion; control.
  • noun A switch or rod used by thatchers to bind their work.
  • noun The maximum amplitude of a vehicle's lateral motion
  • verb To move or swing from side to side; or backward and forward; to rock.
  • verb To move or wield with the hand; to swing; to wield; as, to sway the scepter.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English sweien, probably of Scandinavian origin.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Earlier swey ("to fall, swoon"), from Middle English sweyen, from Old Norse sveigja ("to bend, bow"), from Proto-Germanic *swaigijanan (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 pairišxuaxta ("to surround"), Sanskrit ... (svájate, "he embraces, enfolds")).

Examples

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