1850–55; pivot (v.) + -ing1

Dictionary.com Unabridged


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.
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.
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.

1605–15; < French pivot (noun), pivoter (v.), Old French < ?

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To pivoting
World English Dictionary
pivot (ˈpɪvət)
1.  a short shaft or pin supporting something that turns; fulcrum
2.  the end of a shaft or arbor that terminates in a bearing
3.  a person or thing upon which progress, success, etc, depends
4.  the person or position from which a military formation takes its reference, as when altering position
5.  (tr) to mount on or provide with a pivot or pivots
6.  (intr) to turn on or as if on a pivot
[C17: from Old French; perhaps related to Old Provençal pua tooth of a comb]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

1610s, from Fr., from O.Fr. pivot "hinge, pivot" (12c.), of uncertain origin. The verb is 1841, from the noun. Figurative sense of "central point" is recorded from 1813.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica


in linear and multilinear algebra, a process for finding the solutions of a system of simultaneous linear equations by first solving one of the equations for one variable (in terms of all the others) and then substituting this expression into the remaining equations. The result is a new system in which the number of equations and variables is one less than in the original system. The same procedure is applied to another variable and the process of reduction continued until there remains one equation, in which the only unknown quantity is the last variable. Solving this equation makes it possible to "back substitute" this value in an earlier equation that contains this variable and one other unknown in order to solve for another variable. This process is continued until all the original variables have been evaluated. The whole process is greatly simplified using matrix operations, which can be performed by computers.

Learn more about pivoting with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
She replaced unattractive windows on two sides with pivoting shutters.
The case locks the phone in place with a pivoting drawer, so there is little
  chance of the phone being flung free.
Masts and their pivoting sails take up valuable container space on the deck.
The writer limits the scope of his article by pivoting it around the stories
  and whims of pseudo-royal alcohol selling hoteliers.
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature