Earlier swey (“to fall, swoon”), from Middle English sweyen, from Old Norse sveigja (“to bend, bow”), from Proto-Germanic *swaigijaną (compare Saterland Frisian swooie (“to swing, wave, wobble”), Dutch zwaaien, Dutch Low Saxon sweuen (“to sway in the wind”), from Proto-Indo-European *sweh₁- (compare Lithuanian svaĩgti (“to become giddy or dizzy”), the second element of Avestan 𐬞𐬀𐬌𐬭𐬌-𐬱𐬑𐬎𐬀𐬑𐬙𐬀 (pairi-šxuaxta, “to surround”), Sanskrit स्वजते (svájate, “he embraces, enfolds”).
The noun derived from the verb.
- The act of swaying; a swaying motion; a swing or sweep of a weapon.
- A rocking or swinging motion.
- The old song caused a little sway in everyone in the room.
- Influence, weight, or authority that inclines to one side
- I doubt I'll hold much sway with someone so powerful.
- 2021 April 28, Tara Siegel Bernard, “Trading Stock Tips on TikTok, Newbies Are Deeply Invested in Learning”, in The New York Times, ISSN 0362-4331:
- Though both Mr. Knight and Mr. Hennessey view themselves as traders first, the “finfluencer” culture has flourished with the surge in online interest, and they have considerable sway.
- Preponderance; turn or cast of balance.
- Rule; dominion; control; power.
- 1610–1611, William Shakespeare, “The Tempest”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act I, scene ii]:
- 2019 June 8, Takahashi, Toru, “Prayuth's return as prime minister takes Thailand back to 1980s”, in Nikkei Asian Review, Nikkei Inc, retrieved 2019-06-09:
- Prayuth's return as prime minister takes Thailand back to 1980s. Military still holds sway in a democracy that has yet to mature.
- A switch or rod used by thatchers to bind their work.
- The maximum amplitude of a vehicle's lateral motion.
- To move or swing from side to side; or backward and forward; to rock.
- sway to the music
- The trees swayed in the breeze.
- 1907 August, Robert W[illiam] Chambers, “Afterglow”, in The Younger Set, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, OCLC 24962326, page 168:
- Breezes blowing from beds of iris quickened her breath with their perfume; she saw the tufted lilacs sway in the wind, and the streamers of mauve-tinted wistaria swinging, all a-glisten with golden bees; she saw a crimson cardinal winging through the foliage, and amorous tanagers flashing like scarlet flames athwart the pines.
- To move or wield with the hand; to swing; to wield.
- to sway the sceptre
- To influence or direct by power, authority, persuasion, or by moral force; to rule; to govern; to guide. Compare persuade.
- Do you think you can sway their decision?
- 1697, “(please specify the book number)”, in Virgil; John Dryden, transl., The Works of Virgil: Containing His Pastorals, Georgics, and Æneis. […], London: […] Jacob Tonson, […], OCLC 403869432:
- This was the race / To sway the world, and land and sea subdue.
- 2017 July 23, Brandon Nowalk, “The great game begins with a bang on Game Of Thrones (newbies)”, in The Onion AV Club:
- After all this time […] the woman who endured all that by focusing on her hit list can be swayed from her course by the prospect of her family and her home.
- To cause to incline or swing to one side, or backward and forward; to bias; to turn; to bend; warp.
- reeds swayed by the wind
- judgment swayed by passion
- 1663, John Tillotson, The Wisdom of being Religious
- Let not temporal and little advantages sway you against a more durable interest.
- (nautical) To hoist (a mast or yard) into position.
- to sway up the yards
- To be drawn to one side by weight or influence; to lean; to incline.
- a. 1627 (date written), Francis [Bacon], “Considerations Touching a VVarre vvith Spaine. […]”, in William Rawley, editor, Certaine Miscellany VVorks of the Right Honourable Francis Lo. Verulam, Viscount S. Alban. […], London: […] I. Hauiland for Humphrey Robinson, […], published 1629, OCLC 557721855, page 64:
- euen in these Personall Respects, the Ballance swayes on our part: […]
- To have weight or influence.
- To bear sway; to rule; to govern.
- 1591, William Shakespeare, “The Second Part of Henry the Sixt, […]”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act II, scene v]:
- Hadst thou swayed as kings should do.
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.