a fastening device that allows the thing fastened to turn around freely upon it, especially to turn in a full circle.
such a device consisting of two parts, each of which turns around independently, as a compound link of a chain, one part of which turns freely in the other by means of a headed pin or the like.
a pivoted support allowing a gun to turn around in a horizontal plane.
a device attached to a loom and used as a shuttle to weave extra threads in the production of small figures, especially dots.
verb (used with object), swiveled, swiveling or (especially British) swivelled, swivelling.
to turn or pivot on or as if on a swivel: He swiveled his chair around.
to fasten by a swivel; furnish with a swivel.
verb (used without object), swiveled, swiveling or (especially British) swivelled, swivelling.
to turn on or if as on a swivel.

1275–1325; Middle English (noun), equivalent to swiv- (weak stem of Old English swīfan to revolve; cognate with Old Norse svīfa to turn) + -el instrumental suffix

swivellike, adjective
unswivel, verb (used with object), unswiveled, unswiveling or (especially British) unswivelled, unswivelling.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
swivel (ˈswɪvəl)
1.  a coupling device which allows an attached object to turn freely
2.  such a device made of two parts which turn independently, such as a compound link of a chain
3.  a.  a pivot on which is mounted a gun that may be swung from side to side in a horizontal plane
 b.  Also called: swivel gun the gun itself
vb , -els, -elling, -elled, -els, -eling, -eled
4.  to turn or swing on or as if on a pivot
5.  (tr) to provide with, secure by, or support with a swivel
[C14: from Old English swīfan to turn; see swift]

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

1307, from frequentative form of stem of O.E. verb swifan "to move in a course, sweep" (a class I strong verb), from P.Gmc. *swipanan (cf. O.Fris. swiva "to be uncertain," O.N. svifa "to rove, ramble, drift"), from PIE base *swei- "swing, bend, move in a sweeping manner." M.E. swive was the principal
slang for "to have sexual intercourse with," a sense that developed c.1300. This probably explains why, though the root is verbal, the verb swivel is not attested in Mod.Eng. until 1794.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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