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sway

[swey] /sweɪ/
verb (used without object)
1.
to move or swing to and fro, as something fixed at one end or resting on a support.
2.
to move or incline to one side or in a particular direction.
3.
to incline in opinion, sympathy, tendency, etc.:
She swayed toward conservatism.
4.
to fluctuate or vacillate, as in opinion:
His ideas swayed this way and that.
5.
to wield power; exercise rule.
verb (used with object)
6.
to cause to move to and fro or to incline from side to side.
7.
to cause to move to one side or in a particular direction.
8.
Nautical. to hoist or raise (a yard, topmast, or the like) (usually followed by up).
9.
to cause to fluctuate or vacillate.
10.
to cause (the mind, emotions, etc., or a person) to incline or turn in a specified way; influence.
11.
to cause to swerve, as from a purpose or a course of action:
He swayed them from their plan.
12.
to dominate; direct.
13.
to wield, as a weapon or scepter.
14.
to rule; govern.
noun
15.
the act of swaying; swaying movement.
16.
rule; dominion:
He held all Asia in his sway.
17.
dominating power or influence:
Many voters were under his sway.
Origin
1300-1350
1300-50; (v.) Middle English sweyen < Old Norse sveigja to bend, sway (transitive); (noun) Middle English, derivative of the v.
Related forms
swayable, adjective
swayer, noun
swayingly, adverb
self-sway, noun
unswayable, adjective
unswaying, adjective
Synonyms
1. wave. See swing1 . 3. lean, bend, tend.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for sway
  • They move and sway with their cohort of petals streaming behind them on screen.
  • They will provide you with the strong letters that will sway admissions counselors.
  • Only then do extreme groups lose their sway, and influence transfers to moderate groups.
  • Head coaches hold significant sway over the athletes on their teams.
  • Widespread adoption of the new standard is likely to make it impossible for any one company to hold sway over online interaction.
  • For many decades the burrowing-ancestor theory had held sway.
  • Music may be even more ancient than the human race, over which it holds tremendous sway.
  • The ones that survived were wooden houses, since they were less stiff than the concrete ones and able to sway with the tremor.
  • As tree limbs sway in the breeze, they will paint a picture for you.
  • New studies track the motion of stars to pin down what holds sway at the heart of our galaxy.
British Dictionary definitions for sway

sway

/sweɪ/
verb
1.
(usually intransitive) to swing or cause to swing to and fro
2.
(usually intransitive) to lean or incline or cause to lean or incline to one side or in different directions in turn
3.
(usually intransitive) to vacillate or cause to vacillate between two or more opinions
4.
to be influenced or swerve or influence or cause to swerve to or from a purpose or opinion
5.
(transitive) (nautical) to hoist (a yard, mast, or other spar)
6.
(archaic or poetic) to rule or wield power (over)
7.
(transitive) (archaic) to wield (a weapon)
noun
8.
control; power
9.
a swinging or leaning movement
10.
(archaic) dominion; governing authority
11.
hold sway, to be master; reign
Derived Forms
swayable, adjective
swayer, noun
swayful, adjective
Word Origin
C16: probably from Old Norse sveigja to bend; related to Dutch zwaaien, Low German swājen
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 sway
v.

c.1300, "to go, glide, move," probably from Old Norse sveigja "to bend, swing, give way," from Proto-Germanic *swaigijanan and related to swag (v.) and swing. The sense of "swing, wave, waver" is first recorded c.1500. Related: Swayed; swaying. The noun meaning "controlling influence" (to be under the sway of) is 1510s, from a transitive sense of the verb in Dutch and other languages. The verb in this sense is recorded in English from 1590s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with sway

sway

see: hold sway
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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