Word Origin & History
O.E. swingan "to rush, fling oneself," from P.Gmc. *swenganan (cf. O.S., O.H.G. swingan, O.Fris. swinga, Ger. schwingen "to swing, swingle, oscillate") denoting "violent circulatory motion." The meaning "move freely back and forth" is first recorded 1545. The noun meaning "a stroke with a weapon" is
from 1375; sense of "an apparatus that swings" is first recorded 1687. Meaning "shift of public opinion" is from 1899. The meaning "variety of big dance-band music with a swinging rhythm" is first recorded 1933, though the sense has been traced back to 1888; its heyday was from mid-30s to mid-40s. Swinging "uninhibited" dates from 1958; and swinger "person who is lively in an unrestrained way" is from 1965. Both had various other slang senses traceable to 1590s. Swing shift first recorded 1941, typically 4 p.m. to midnight. Phrase in full swing "in total effect or operation" (1570) is probably from bell-ringing.