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[piv-uh t] /ˈpɪv ət/
a pin, point, or short shaft on the end of which something rests and turns, or upon and about which something rotates or oscillates.
the end of a shaft or arbor, resting and turning in a bearing.
any thing or person on which something or someone functions or depends vitally:
He is the pivot of my life.
the person in a line, as of troops on parade, whom the others use as a point about which to wheel or maneuver.
a whirling about on one foot.
Basketball. the act of keeping one foot in place while holding the ball and moving the other foot one step in any direction, so as not to be charged with walking.
  1. an offensive position in the front court, usually played by the center, in which the player stands facing away from the offensive basket and serves as the pivot of the offense by setting up plays through passing, making screens, and taking shots.
  2. Also called pivotman. the player who plays in the pivot position.
Dentistry. (formerly) dowel (def 4).
verb (used without object)
to turn on or as on a pivot.
Basketball. to keep one foot in place while holding the ball and moving the other foot one step in any direction.
verb (used with object)
to mount on, attach by, or provide with a pivot or pivots.
Origin of pivot
1605-15; < French pivot (noun), pivoter (v.), Old French < ? Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for pivot
  • Most drastically, a switch to center pivot irrigation shows up as bright red circles.
  • Stars orbit the pivot point at the center of galaxies, planets in turn orbit stars, and moons in turn orbit planets.
  • Center pivot irrigation system for site-specific water and nutrient management.
  • One such application is reporting center-pivot and lateral-move field position.
  • Accurate knowledge of center-pivot or lateral-move position in real time is critical for site-specific irrigation.
  • If the lift rod still operates stiffly, adjust the pivot rod.
  • Seller must cut it price to pivot on its sale and buyer must be able to repay to buy.
  • Both sea horses and pipefishes employ the tilt-and-slurp technique, known as pivot feeding.
  • Most helicopters allow the main rotor blades to either flap up and down or pivot forward and back as they spin.
  • Underneath the basin, it is connected to a clevis rod and pivot rod.
British Dictionary definitions for pivot


a short shaft or pin supporting something that turns; fulcrum
the end of a shaft or arbor that terminates in a bearing
a person or thing upon which progress, success, etc, depends
the person or position from which a military formation takes its reference, as when altering position
(transitive) to mount on or provide with a pivot or pivots
(intransitive) to turn on or as if on a pivot
Word Origin
C17: from Old French; perhaps related to Old Provençal pua tooth of a comb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pivot

1610s, from French pivot, from Old French pivot "hinge pin, pivot" (12c.), also "penis," of uncertain origin. Figurative sense of "central point" is recorded from 1813.


by 1841, from French pivoter and from pivot (n). Related: Pivoted; pivoting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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