• To move or swing from side to side; or backward and forward; to rock.
  • To move or wield with the hand; to swing; to wield.
  • To influence or direct by power, authority, persuasion, or by moral force; to rule; to govern; to guide. Compare persuade.
  • To cause to incline or swing to one side, or backward and forward; to bias; to turn; to bend; warp.
  • To hoist (a mast or yard) into position.
  • To be drawn to one side by weight or influence; to lean; to incline.
  • To have weight or influence.
  • To bear sway; to rule; to govern.


  • Earlier swey, from Middle English sweyen, from Old Norse sveigja, from Proto-Germanic *swaigijaną (compare Saterland Frisian swooie ("to swing, wave, wobble"), Dutch zwaaien, Dutch Low Saxon sweuen, from Proto-Indo-European *sweh₁- (compare Lithuanian svaĩgti, the second element of Avestan 𐬞𐬀𐬌𐬭𐬌𐬱𐬑𐬎𐬀𐬑𐬙𐬀, Sanskrit स्वजते.
  • The noun derived from the verb.

Modern English dictionary

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