General English

  • noun a seat held by two ropes or chains, to sit on and move backwards and forwards, usually outdoors
  • verb to move from side to side or forwards and backwards, while hanging from a central point


  • verb to move from side to side with some force


  • The movement of a door on hinges on a pivot.
  • The rotation of a power shovel on its base.


  • noun lateral movement of the ball while in flight resulting in a curving rather than straight trajectory, or the technique of imparting such movement to the ball
    Citation ‘This time Willis, Cowans and Dilley found that speed and bounce were less important than swing and cut’ (Christopher Martin-Jenkins, Cricketer September 1983)
    Citation ‘Hoggard at once began to obtain a degree of orthodox swing comparable with that obtained in reverse by Flintoff’ (Haigh 2005)
    Citation ‘He ran in hard, generated some pace, found some swing, rediscovered his yorker, and dismissed Shivnarine Chanderpaul’ (Siddhartha Vaidyanathan, Cricinfo Magazine July 2006)
  • verb (of the bowler) to make the ball deviate laterally while in flight; move the ball in the air
    Citation ‘He swung the ball out and in late enough for it not to be clear whether the movement was in the air or off the pitch’ (Brearley 1982)
  • verb (of the ball) to curve while in flight; move in the air
    Citation ‘The match was played in sweltering conditions, which throughout encouraged the ball to swing whatever its age and condition’ (Richard Hutton, Cricketer September 1994)
    Citation ‘One ball was shaped across his bows, swinging away towards the waiting slips and past a groping blade’ (Mike Selvey, Cricinfo Magazine January 2006)
    See also outswing, inswing, reverse swing


  • The total available variation, from the lowest amplitude or other value or quantity, to the highest, or the peak difference between maximum instantaneous absolute values. Examples include carrier swing, frequency swing, and grid swing.
  • (written as Swing)
    Java components and tools utilized to prepare graphical user interfaces. Also called Swing components.


  • noun a percentage change in votes from one election to another

Origin & History of “swing”

Swing goes back ultimately to a prehistoric Germanic base *swinggw-, which denoted ‘violent circulatory movement’. One of its specific applications was to the wielding of a whip, and indeed the English verb swing originally meant ‘flog’ (‘They bind him and swing him and spit on his face’, Blickling Homilies 971). Another Old English sense was ‘rush’, but the main modern meaning ‘oscillate’ did not emerge until as recently as the 16th century. The ancestral notion of ‘flogging’ or ‘beating’ is better preserved in the related swinge (16th c.).
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