pendulum

[pen-juh-luhm, pen-duh-]
noun
1.
a body so suspended from a fixed point as to move to and fro by the action of gravity and acquired momentum.
2.
Horology. a swinging lever, weighted at the lower end, for regulating the speed of a clock mechanism.
3.
something that tends to move from one position, condition, etc., to the opposite extreme and then back again: In a democratic society, the pendulum of political thought swings left and right.

Origin:
1650–60; < Neo-Latin, noun use of neuter of Latin pendulus pendulous

pendulumlike, adjective
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
pendulum (ˈpɛndjʊləm)
 
n
1.  a body mounted so that it can swing freely under the influence of gravity. It is either a bob hung on a light thread (simple pendulum) or a more complex structure (compound pendulum)
2.  such a device used to regulate a clockwork mechanism
3.  something that changes its position, attitude, etc fairly regularly: the pendulum of public opinion
 
[C17: from Latin penduluspendulous]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

pendulum
1660, from Mod.L. pendulum (1643), properly neut. of L. adj. pendulus "hanging down," from pendere "to hang" (see pendant).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
pendulum   (pěn'jə-ləm)  Pronunciation Key 
A mass hung from a fixed support so that it is able to swing freely under the influence of gravity. Since the motion of pendulums is regular and periodic, they are often used to regulate the action of various devices, especially clocks.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
He believes the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction.
Even the humble pendulum may spring a surprise on you.
Even the simple motion of a pendulum is easier to examine by it s amplitude and
  energy in place of time.
One point touching the ground, the inverse pendulum in motion.
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