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swing, v.1

Brit. /swɪŋ/
U.S. /swɪŋ/
Forms:  Past tense swung /swʌŋ/, rarely swang /swæŋ/; past participle swung. Forms: OE swingan, ( suinga), ME swingen, (ME suing(e, squynge), ME swynge, ME–15 swinge, swyng, ME– swing. past tense strongOE, ME– swang (OE plural swungon, ME plural swonge(n), ME suang, squang(e, swange, swonge, ME–16 swong, 17– swung; weakME swyngede, swynget, swinget, 15 swynged, 16 swinged. past participle and strongOE swungen, (OE–ME suungen), ME iswonge, yswonnge, yswongen, iswungen, suongen, swngen, squongin, swongen, swonge, (ME swongyn, swongon), 17– swung; weak15 swynged, 15–17 swinged.(Show Less)
Frequency (in current use): 
Etymology: Old English swingan  , past tense swang  , swungon  , past participle geswungen   to scourge, chastise, beat up, intransitive to move violently or impetuously, related to Old Frisian swinga   (also swenga  , swanga  ) to fling, besprinkle, Middle Low German swingen   strong, to fling, hurl, swingle flax, intransitive to fling oneself, fly, swengen   weak, intransitive and reflexive, to throw oneself in any direction, rotate, wheel round, Low German swingen   to swingle, Old High German swingan   to hurl, fling, beat, intransitive to move rapidly, fly, (Middle High German swingen  , German schwingen   to brandish, flourish, shake, winnow, swingle, (intransitive or reflexive) to swing, oscillate, swing oneself up, etc., bound, soar, rise, whence Swedish svinga  , Danish svinge  ), Gothic afswaggwjan   in passive rendering ἐξαπορηθῆναι   to be in doubt or anxiety; < Germanic swiŋgw-  , older sweŋgw-  : swaŋgw-   (swaŋgwj-  ), to be or to put in violent (circular or rotatory) motion; whence also the forms recorded s.v. swang v., swing n.1, swing n.2, swing v.2, sweng n., swenge v., swinge n.1, and probably swange n., swong adj.

 a. transitive. To scourge, whip, flog, beat (a person); also, to strike with a weapon or the hand.

c725   Corpus Gloss. (Hessels) E 477   Exalaparetur, suungen.
971   Blickl. Hom. 15   Hie hine bindað & swingaþ & spætliað on his onsyne.
971   Blickl. Hom. 23   Hie hine swungon, & bundon.
971   Blickl. Hom. 243   Swingaþ hine on his muð.
c1000   Ælfric Lives Saints xxxvii. 158   And hine man þa swang & mid saglum beot.
c1175   Lamb. Hom. 149   [He] ofte for his sunne swingeð him mið smele twige.
a1300   Cursor Mundi 26019   Efter he was wit skurges suungen [Fairf. squongin].
c1330   Assump. Virg. (B.M. MS.) 443   With oute gult þei me swongen, And to a piler þei me bounden.
c1330   R. Mannyng Chron. Wace (Rolls) 13054   Ilk oþer wroþ, ilk oþer swong.
a1400   Octavian (Sarrazin) 2   Jesu, þat was..for vs hard and sore yswonnge.
c1450   Mirour Saluacioun (Roxb.) 5   How xrist was with scourgis swongyn.
a1500  (a1460)    Towneley Plays (1994) I. xxiii. 302   Blo and blody thus am I bett, Swongen with swepys.

c725—a1500(Hide quotations)


 b. To beat (the flesh) from, (the blood) out of.

a1300   Cursor M. 9102 (Cott.)    Vte of his bak þe blode þai suang.
a1400   Leg. Rood (1871) 142   Þe flesch was from þe bones swonge.

a1300—a1400(Hide quotations)


 c. Cookery. To beat up, ‘whip’ (milk, eggs, etc.). Obsolete.

c1000   Sax. Leechd. III. 14   Gif poc sy on eagan nim arsapan & hinde meoluc mæng to somne & swyng.
?c1390   Form of Cury in Warner Antiq. Culin. (1791) 10   Breke ayrenn and do thereto; and swyng it wel togydr.
a1475   Liber Cocorum (Sloane) (1862) 11   Swyng eyryn, and do þer to.
a1500   Recipes (Harl. 5401) in Babees Bk. (2002) i. 53   Recipe brede gratyd, & eggis; & swyng þam to-gydere.

c1000—a1500(Hide quotations)


 d. intransitive. To strike a blow with a sword; to come together with blows; to deliver a blow at.

a1375   William of Palerne (1867) l. 3856   Swiftli seþþe with swerdes swonge þei to-gider.
c1390  (?c1350)    Joseph of Arimathie (1871) l. 576   Þe white kniht wiþ his swerd swyngede to hem sone.
a1400–50   Wars Alex. 957   He swyngis out with a swerd & swappis him to dethe.
1488  (c1478)    Hary Actis & Deidis Schir William Wallace (Adv.) (1968–9) iv. l. 314   Wallace thar-with swyth with a suerd out swang.
c1540  (?a1400)    Destr. Troy 13590   Pirrus swappit out his sword, swange at þe kyng.

a1375—c1540(Hide quotations)


2. transitive. To throw with force, fling, hurl.

a1300   Cursor M. 7527 (Cott.)    His arms fra him did he suing [Fairf. squynge].
1495   Trevisa's Bartholomeus De Proprietatibus Rerum (de Worde) xv. cii   He swange [Bodl. MS. swenged] the adder in to the fire.
▸ ?a1500   R. Henryson tr. Æsop Fables: Fox, Wolf, & Cadger l. 2076 in Poems (1981) 80   He hint him be the heillis, And with ane swak he swang him on the creillis.

a1300—?a1500(Hide quotations)


 a. intransitive. To move or go impetuously; to rush; to fling oneself. Obsolete.

OE   Beowulf 2264   Næs hearpan wyn..ne god hafoc geond sæl swingeð, ne se swifta mearh burhstede beateð.
a1400  (a1325)    Cursor Mundi (Vesp.) l. 7582   Wit þat stan he laid in sling, Sua stalworthli he lete it suing þat in his frunt þat stan he fest.
c1400  (?c1390)    Sir Gawain & Green Knight (1940) l. 1562   Þe lorde..Sweȝ his vncely swyn, þat swyngez [MS reads swyngeȝ] bi þe bonkkeȝ.
c1400  (?c1380)    Pearl l. 1059   Þat foysoun flode..Swyþe hit swange þurȝ vch a strete.
c1503   Beuys of Southhamptowne (Pynson) 497   Al at onys on hym they swonge And gaue hym woundes wyde and longe.
a1556   N. Udall Ralph Roister Doister (?1566) ii. iii. sig. C.iiijv   Well Trupenie neuer but flinging. An. Alyface. And frisking? Trupenie. Well Tibet and Annot, still swingyng and whiskyng?
1582   R. Stanyhurst tr. Virgil First Foure Bookes Æneis ii. 28   Two serpents..Plasht the water sulcking to the shoare moste hastelye swinging.

OE—1582(Hide quotations)


 b. transitive. To carry or drive forcibly. Obsolete.

c1540  (?a1400)    Destr. Troy 13299   Full swift to the swalgh me swinget the flode.
1582   R. Stanyhurst tr. Virgil First Foure Bookes Æneis i. 14   With steeds he is swinged, downe picht in his hudge wagon emptye.

c1540—1582(Hide quotations)


 4. transitive †To draw out (a sword) with a vigorous movement (obsolete); to flourish, brandish, wave about; in later use with mixture of sense 7a   and sense 12a: to wield (a weapon or implement), or move (a body held or grasped) with an oscillating or rotatory movement; also (Australian slang.), to swing Kelly (or Douglas) , to wield an axe, to do axework.

a1400–50   Wars Alex. 806   Alexander..Swythe swyngis out his swerde.
1513   G. Douglas tr. Virgil Æneid ix. vii. 161   He..thame stoutly assalit,..And euer his schynand swerd about him swang.
c1540  (?a1400)    Destr. Troy 7275   He..swynget out a sword, swappit at þat other.
c1540  (?a1400)    Destr. Troy 10390   Þen he swange out a sword swicly with þat.
1574   A. Gilby tr. Test. Twelue Patriarches f. 27v   I tooke hym by the hornes, and swinged him about, and finally killed him.
1599   Shakespeare Romeo & Juliet i. i. 108   The fierie Tybalt, with his sword preparde, Which..He swoong about his head.  
?1611   G. Chapman tr. Homer Iliads iii. 393   An emptie helme, That then he swong about his head, and cast among his friends.
1626   Bacon Sylua Syluarum §310   Take Bottles, and Swing them.
1646   R. Crashaw Sospetto d'Herode xl, in Steps to Temple 64   Swinging a huge sith stands impartiall Death.
1667   Dryden Annus Mirabilis 1666 xcvii. 25   If some one approach to dare his force, He swings his tail.
1671   Milton Samson Agonistes 1240   Go baffl'd coward, lest I..swing thee in the Air.  
1725   R. Bradley Chomel's Dictionaire Œconomique at Sallet   Lettice, Cresses, Radish, &c. must..be..swing'd and shaken gently.
1815   Scott Guy Mannering I. xx. 321   He..swung his arms like the sails of a wind-mill.
1860   Tennyson Sea Dreams 24   For sideways up he swung his arms.
1873   B. Harte Episode of Fiddletown 107   Each swung a lasso.
1909   Stacpoole Pools of Silence xxx   Adams had swung the man aloft and dashed him against the wall.
1945   S. J. Baker Austral. Lang. i v. 78   Kelly and douglas, an axe (from the names of makers), with their derivatives to swing kelly or douglas, to do axework.
1966   ‘J. Hackston’ Father clears Out 98   The scholars..could have passed with honours in such subjects as milking, swinging Douglas, panning off.

a1400–50—1966(Hide quotations)


5. To whirl (a wheel) round. Obsolete.

a1225   Juliana 58   [He] dude..fore of his cnihtes forte turnen þat hweol..ant het swingen hit swiftliche abuten ant tidliche turnen.

a1225—a1225(Hide quotations)


 a. intransitive. To move freely backwards and forwards, as a body suspended from a support above; to oscillate below a point of support, as a pendulum or the like. For spec. use in Hindu asceticism, see (b).Occasionally the intransitive sense corresponding to 7d.

1545   R. Ascham Toxophilus i. f. 14   Moche lyke the pastyme that boyes vse in the churche when their master is awaye, to swinge and totter in a belrope.
1660   R. Boyle New Exper. Physico-mechanicall xxvi. 202   We thought it not amiss to try if a Pendulum would swing faster, or continue swinging longer in our Receiver.
1710   R. Steele Tatler No. 96. ⁋5   His Arms naturally swang at an unreasonable Distance from his Sides.
1782   W. Cowper John Gilpin 107   A bottle swinging at each side.
1815   J. Smith Panorama Sci. & Art II. 133   A great beam, suspended on gudgeons at the middle, and swinging like the beam of a balance.
1839   F. A. Kemble Jrnl. Resid. Georgian Plantation (1863) 19   The mocking birds are swinging and singing even now.
1842   Tennyson Sir Galahad iii, in Poems (new ed.) II. 176   The shrill bell rings, the censer swings.
1844   A. B. Welby Poems (1867) 44   Her cottage bonnet filled with flowers, Hung swinging from her arm.
1864   Tennyson Aylmer's Field in Enoch Arden, etc. 52   Sir Aylmer Aylmer.., Whose blazing wyvern weathercock'd the spire,..And swang besides on many a windy sign.
a1900   R. Kipling Dedication vi   One stone the more swings to her place In that dread Temple of Thy worth.
1912   H. Belloc Four Men 25   His arms dangled rather than swang.
1773   E. Ives Voy. India i. ii. 27   On the 9th of April, annually, at Bengal the natives undergo a very uncommon kind of penance:..In a large plain about a mile from Calcutta, there are erected about thirty Bamboos, at least twenty feet high; on the top of these they contrive to fix a swivel, and another bamboo of thirty feet or more crosses it, at both ends of which hangs a rope. One end of this rope, the people pull down, and the devotee placing himself under it, the Brahmin pinches up a large piece of skin under both the shoulder blades,..and thrusts a strong iron-hook through each... When this is done, the people haul down the other end of the bamboo, by which means the devotee is immediately lifted up..from the ground, and then run round as fast as their legs will carry them. This throws the devotee out to the full length of the rope, where as he swings, he plays a thousand antic tricks.
1793   Medical Spectator II. No. 39. 246   All the information that I could get from our Banyan relative to this strange custom was, that they swing for a good conscience.

1545—1912(Hide quotations)


 b. Of a person: To move backwards and forwards through the air upon a suspended rope or a swing (swing n.2 11), as a sport; to ride in a swing.

1545 [see sense 6a].
1662   J. Davies tr. A. Olearius Voy. & Trav. Ambassadors 93   They have also ropes to swing in.
1665   T. Herbert Some Years Trav. (new ed.) 130   I saw ropes or cords stretched from tree to tree in several gardens, Boys and Girls..swinging upon them.
1720   J. Gay Shepherd's Week i. 104, in Poems II. 84   On two near elms the slacken'd cord I hung, Now high, now low my Blouzelinda swung.

1545—1720(Hide quotations)


 c. Of a (suspended) bell: To give forth a sound by swinging; to sound, ring out.

1645   Milton Il Penseroso in Poems 40   Oft..I hear the far-off Curfeu sound, Over som wide-water'd shoar, Swinging slow with sullen roar.
1812   G. Colman Poet. Vagaries 85   A sound swung down the glen..From Bunamargy-Friery bell.
1874   J. R. Green Short Hist. Eng. People ii. §6. 90   The burgesses gathered in town-mote when the bell swung out from St. Paul's.

1645—1874(Hide quotations)


 d. figurative. To waver, vacillate; to change from one condition or position to the opposite (esp. in figurative phrases with pendulum as subject: see pendulum n. 3).

1833   T. Chalmers Bridgewater Treat. II. x. 106   We swing as it were between two assumptions.
1836   Penny Cycl. V. 300/1   The pendulum of opinion swings to the side opposite to that on which it has been unduly brought out of its position of equilibrium.
1877   R. Giffen Stock Exchange Securities 152   He should endeavour..not to invest when the pendulum has swung upwards.
1890   Retrospect Med. 102 378   I am by no means sure that the pendulum may not have swung too far in the opposite direction.

1833—1890(Hide quotations)


 e. transitive. To mark or indicate by swinging; to swing seconds , to oscillate once in every second.

1737   W. Derham in Philos. Trans. 1735–6 (Royal Soc.) 39 202   The next Experiments I shall mention, I made..by the Help of a good Month-Piece that swings Seconds.
1765   Philos. Trans. 1764 (Royal Soc.) 54 373   A little clock..having a pendulum swinging seconds.

1737—1765(Hide quotations)


 a. transitive. To cause to oscillate, as a body suspended from a support above; to move or sway (something) to and fro in this or a similar manner. to swing a cat (i.e. holding it by the tail); in no room to swing a cat in and similar expressions, said of a confined or narrow space. to swing the lead: see lead n.1 6b.

1560   J. Daus tr. J. Sleidane Commentaries f. ccxcv   They hange out the dead body by a chaine ouer the walle, and after they had swynged it a whyle to and fro, they let it fall into the ditche.
1665   Medela Pestil. 57   They had not space enough (according to the vulgar saying) to swing a Cat in.
1707   E. Ward Wooden World Dissected 5   When they walk, they swing their Corps like a Pendulum.
1771   T. Smollett Humphry Clinker II. 5   I am pent up in frowzy lodgings, where there is not room enough to swing a cat.
1842   M. Faraday Chem. Manip. (ed. 3) xx. 543   The flasks should be well rinsed, and..swung in the hand to shake out adhering drops.
1843   Dickens Martin Chuzzlewit (1844) xvi. 198   The colonel..took his seat upon the table, and swung his legs.
1849   A. H. Clough Poems & Prose Remains (1869) II. 296   Big bees their burly bodies swung.
1850   Dickens David Copperfield xxxv. 353   Mrs. Crupp had indignantly assured him that there wasn't room to swing a cat there; but, as Mr. Dick justly observed to me,..‘You know, Trotwood, I don't want to swing a cat. I never do swing a cat.’
1906   J. J. Raven Bells 41   Arrangements for hanging bells in turrets and swinging them.

1560—1906(Hide quotations)


 b. To cause (a person) to oscillate as in a swing; to give (one) a ride in a swing.

1615   G. Sandys Relation of Journey 56   By two ioyning ropes that are fastned aboue, they will swing themselues as high as the transome.
1712   R. Steele Spectator No. 492. ⁋3   They get on Ropes, as you must have seen the Children, and are swung by their Men Visitants.
1783   J. O. Justamond tr. G. T. F. Raynal Philos. Hist. Europeans in Indies (new ed.) V. 40   Their slaves had no other employment but to swing them in their hammocks.
1838   E. Bulwer-Lytton Alice I. iii. vii. 300   Come to-morrow, and swing Sophy—no nice swinging since you've been gone.

1615—1838(Hide quotations)


 c. Of a bell: To send forth a peal of sound.

1817   Scott Rob Roy II. viii. 163   The hour of twelve o'clock swung its summons over the city from the belfry.
1852   D. Rock Church our Fathers III. i. ix. 294   The bells in every church steeple swung forth their peals of gladsomeness.

1817—1852(Hide quotations)


 d. To lift and transport (something suspended), as with a crane; transferred to convey or transport from point to point.

1856   R. W. Emerson Eng. Traits xvi. 282   Men..swinging a block of granite..with an ordinary derrick.
1862   H. Kingsley Ravenshoe li   Who could tire,..at the strange dim vista of swinging horses between decks?
18..   Jrnl. Mil. Service Inst. U.S. 10 588 (Cent. Dict.)   By means of the railroad, troops can be swung across from bay to bay as the exigencies of the war may require.

1856—18..(Hide quotations)


 e. reflexive. To hoist oneself up or transport oneself from point to point by grasping a support above. Also intransitive.

1899   S. R. Crockett Black Douglas i   The young man..swung lightly off his charger.
1899   S. R. Crockett Black Douglas ii   The Douglas swung himself into the saddle.
1902   V. Jacob Sheep-stealers xi   Putting his foot on the axle and swinging himself up.
1907   J. H. Patterson Man-eaters of Tsavo xii. 133   All kinds of monkeys chatter..overhead as they swing themselves from branch to branch.

1899—1907(Hide quotations)

 8. intransitive. To be suspended from a support above (without necessarily implying oscillation).

 a. spec. To be hanged; to suffer death by hanging. slang or colloquial.

1542   N. Udall tr. Erasmus Apophthegmes f. 122   Diogenes..had a great zele..to see theim euery one swyngyng & tottreyng in halters.
1592   T. Nashe Pierce Penilesse (Brit. Libr. copy) sig. C4   What pennance can be greater for Pride, than to let it swinge in hys owne halter?
1725   New Canting Dict.   To Swing, to hang.
1728   Street-robberies, Consider'd 8   They all lovingly swung together at Execution-Dock.
1841   Dickens Barnaby Rudge lxii. 298   It is..a choice between his life and death. If you refuse, he swings.
1884   ‘E. Lyall’ We Two III. x. 256   I don't wish any man to swing for me—I have always disapproved of the death-penalty.

1542—1884(Hide quotations)


 b. gen. To be suspended, to hang; transferred, to appear as if suspended (= hang v. 12). Also figurative, ( swing from, to depend or ‘hinge’ on).

1641   J. Tatham Distracted State v. i   Agath. And now you see the Pinacle from which You must be tumbled down, away with him... Fellow. If you please to walk that way you may see Oleander swinging for his life.
1781   W. Cowper Charity 615   His Budget, often filled, yet always poor, Might swing at ease behind his study door.
1829   Scott Anne of Geierstein II. xi. 346   ‘Yonder swings the Flying Stag,’ said Ital, pointing to an immense sign.
1859   Tennyson Enid in Idylls of King 10   A purple scarf, at either end whereof There swung an apple of the purest gold.
1869   A. J. Evans Vashti xix. 251   In the west, where a waning moon swung on the edge of the distant misty hills.
1888   G. A. Smith Bk. Isaiah (1891) xiii. 229   As this one [word] is obscure in its English guise, and the passage really swings from it, we may devote a paragraph to its meaning.
1898   H. R. Haggard Dr. Therne i. 14   A lantern swung from the roof of the coach.

1641—1898(Hide quotations)


 a. transitive. To hang, suspend; rarely, to hang (a person), put to death by hanging (slang or colloquial).

1529   T. More Dyaloge Dyuers Maters iii. xi. 82 b   In the tother [wallet] he layeth vp all hys owne and swyngeth yt at hys backe.
1811   Gen. Regulations & Orders Army 249   The Men's Hammocks must be swung regularly by Companies.
1816   ‘Quiz’ Grand Master vii. 202   Had he the pow'r he'd change the case, And swing some col'nels in their place.
1848   E. Bulwer-Lytton King Arthur i. xliii   A slender draw-bridge, swung from brink to brink.
1860   All Year Round 15 Sept. 550   The heavy vehicle so ill swung,..as springless as an artillery tumbril.
1911   M. Beerbohm Zuleika Dobson v. 61   You would be driven to Court in my state-coach. It is swung so high that the streetsters can hardly see its occupant.

1529—1911(Hide quotations)


 b. To strain (the back of a horse): = sway v. 5b.

1844   H. Stephens Bk. of Farm III. 1258   If she [sc. a mare]..has met with an accident, such as having swung her back.

1844—1844(Hide quotations)


 10. intransitive. To oscillate (without suspension); to move to and fro, or from side to side; to sway; to hover; spec. to sway the body backward and forward in rowing.

1607   G. Chapman Bussy D'Ambois v. 64   Not so the surges of the euxine Sea..Swell being enrag'd..As Fortune swings about the restlesse state Of vertue.
1712   J. Arbuthnot John Bull in his Senses iv. 17   If the Coach swung but the least to one side, she used to shriek so loud, that all the Street concluded she was overturn'd.
1835   Wordsworth Stanzas Power of Sound x, in Yarrow Revisited 318   While Fauns and Satyrs beat the ground In cadence,—and Silenus swang This way and that, with wild-flowers crowned.
1860   J. Tyndall Glaciers of Alps i. xv. 101   A single hawk swung in the atmosphere above us.
1879   Oxf. & Cambr. Undergraduate Jrnl. 13 Mar. 292/2   Prest is getting more and more used to the bow side, but he still swings short and stiffly.

1607—1879(Hide quotations)


 a. To turn in alternate directions, or in either direction (usually horizontally), around a fixed axis or point of support; spec. Nautical said of a vessel riding at a single anchor or moored by the head, and turning with the wind or tide. Also with to, open, wide, etc.

1769   W. Falconer Universal Dict. Marine   To Swing, to turn round the anchors, or moorings, at the change of the wind, or tide.
1812   J. Wilson Isle of Palms iii. 929   While safely she at anchor swings.
1819   Shelley Cenci iv. ii. 67   It is the iron gate, Which ye left open, swinging to the wind.
1860   A. Cumming in Mercantile Marine Mag. 7 102   Let them..swing to one anchor.
1863   C. Reade Hard Cash xx   But in the middle of the joyous whirl, Julia's quick ear on the watch all the time, heard the gate swing to.
1892   W. W. Greener Breech-loader 215   The shot will.. fly in that direction in which the gun was swinging when the charge of shot left the muzzle.
1892   A. C. Gunter Miss Dividends (1893) 33   He swings around suddenly and quickly to see who interrupts him.

1769—1892(Hide quotations)


 b. To go along or round in a curve or with a sweeping motion; to wheel, sweep.

1810   Scott Lady of Lake i. 25   So forth the startled swan would swing.
1853   C. Kingsley Hypatia II. vii. 183   A choir of nymphs swung round him hand in hand.
1856   S. Warner Hills of Shatemuc xxxv   With wind and headway the sloop gently swang up to her appointed place.
1865   C. Kingsley Hereward xv   In marched Hereward and all his men, and swung round through the gateway into the court.
1914   Times 8 Sept. 9/1   The battle line proceeds due east to Sézanne and Vitry-le-François, and then swings north-east round the plain of Châlons to the fortress of Verdun.

1810—1914(Hide quotations)


 c. to swing around the circle , to make a political tour of a constituency or larger area. U.S.

1866   E. McPherson Polit. Man. v. 58   We swing around the circle of the Union with a fixed and unalterable determination to stand by it.
1871   G. W. Peck Adventures of Terence McGrant iv. 27   Until me Cousin Ulissis gets through swinging around the circle.
1887   Chicago Tribune 2 Oct.   President Andrew Johnson originated the phrase ‘swinging round the circle’ on the occasion of his famous tour to Chicago..in September, 1866.
1910   N.Y. Evening Post 29 Oct. 2   To stem the rising tide against him, Col. Roosevelt is to swing around the circle in Brooklyn to-night.

1866—1910(Hide quotations)


 d. Cricket. Of a bowler: to impart swing to the ball on delivery. Also with the ball as subj. Cf. swing n.2 8g.

1900   P. F. Warner Cricket in Many Climes 84   Morton..has a beautiful natural action, and swings in the air with his arm.
1900   P. F. Warner Cricket in Many Climes 179   Rowe..has, too, a very good fast ‘yorker’ which swings in the air.
1952   M.C.C. Cricket Coaching Bk. ii. 37   The farther up the ball is pitched, the more ‘room’ it has in which to swing.
1977   World of Cricket Monthly June 30/1   Bowling medium-pace, he got the ball to swing in the heavy atmosphere.

1900—1977(Hide quotations)


 e. Of a spacecraft: to pass by a planet using its gravitational field to change course.

1967   [implied in: Britannica Bk. of Year 1966 804/3   Swing-by, an interplanetary mission in which a space vehicle utilizes the gravitational field of a planet near which it passes for changing course (a swing-by through the gravitational field of Venus on the way to Mars). (at swing-by n. at swing- comb. form 2a)].
1970   Nature 1 Aug. 434/2   The spacecraft will be launched in the autumn of 1973, swinging by Venus at a distance of 3,000 miles.
1976   Sci. Amer. May 116/2   These two spacecraft are scheduled to be launched in 1977 and to swing by Jupiter in 1979.

1967—1976(Hide quotations)


 a. transitive. To cause to turn in alternate directions, or in either direction, on or as on an axis or pivot; to turn or cause to face in another direction.

1768   A. Tucker Light of Nature Pursued I. xxii. 114   The boy who wished to be a king that he might have an officer appointed to swing him all day long upon a gate.
1783   W. Cowper Epit. on Hare 24   To skip and gambol like a hare And swing his rump around.
1785   W. Cowper Epist. to J. Hill in Task 286   Swinging the parlour door upon its hinge.
1819   Scott Bride of Lammermoor ix, in Tales of my Landlord 3rd Ser. I. 253   Ae leaf of the muckle gate has been swung to wi' yestreen's wind.
1883   Harper's Mag. Jan. 284/1   What maddening whirls when he called, ‘Swing partners!’
1887   Field 19 Feb. 223/2   A good practical exponent of ‘the art of shooting flying’ states..that he never met with a first-rate shot who ‘swings’ his gun—i.e. keeps it moving in the direction of the bird's flight.
1890   ‘R. Boldrewood’ Miner's Right I. vi. 139   The base line is altered or ‘swung’, i.e. freshly marked on another imaginary course.
1892   E. Gosse Secr. Narcisse iii. 80   As he was about to turn towards the window, Rosalie swang herself violently back.

1768—1892(Hide quotations)


 b. Nautical. To turn (a ship) to all points in succession, in order to ascertain the deviation of her magnetic compass.

1859   in Mercantile Marine Mag. (1860) 7 49   The necessity of having all iron steamships..swung, in order to ascertain the deviation of their compasses.
1877   W. J. J. Spry Cruise H.M.S. Challenger (1878) x. 176   Some hours were spent swinging for magnetical purposes.

1859—1877(Hide quotations)


 c. To drive or cause to move in a curve; also, to make or execute by moving in a curve (in to swing a cast , in hunting: see cast n. 41).

1819   J. G. Lockhart Peter's Lett. to Kinsfolk III. lxix. 203   The balls..being swung to and fro in a terrific manner, by means of long queues with elastic shafts.
1843   R. S. Surtees Handley Cross II. xi. 295   The hounds dash towards the fence beyond, and swing their cast without a whimper.
1889   A. C. Gunter That Frenchman! v. 46   He swings his team into the Avenue de l'Impératrice.
1897   Outing 30 127/1   The dogs have changed direction by the left flank... We swing them, make a short cut through a bit of brush.

1819—1897(Hide quotations)


 d. In figurative phrase to swing it on or across (someone) = to put it across at put v. Phrasal verbs 1  s.

1923   Daily Mail 16 June 11   Too experienced to let even a thundering smart girl swing it on him as easily as that.
a1935   T. E. Lawrence Mint (1955) i. xi. 39   ‘Swinging it on the..rookies, they are, the old sweats’ grumbled Tug.
1943   N. Marsh Colour Scheme iv. 64   You saw Questing swing it across me.

1923—1943(Hide quotations)


 e. to swing the gate (see quot. 1933). Cf. drag v. 9b   and swing-gate n. at swing- comb. form 2a. Australian and New Zealand slang.

1933   L. G. D. Acland in Press (Christchurch, N.Z.) 16 Dec. 21/8   Swing the gate, to be the fastest shearer in the shed.
1941   S. J. Baker N.Z. Slang v. 39   From the New Zealand shearing sheds came those effective expressions to drag the chain and swing the gate, phrases applied to the slowest and the fastest shearer in a shed respectively.
1965   J. S. Gunn Terminol. Shearing Industry ii. 12   A ringer is..said to ‘swing the gate’, presumably because he keeps the catching-pen gate swinging.

1933—1965(Hide quotations)


 f. To turn a starting-handle in order to start (a motor vehicle, its engine). Also with over. colloquial.

1927   R. Lehmann Dusty Answer iii. 164   It took ten minutes to get the car started, with Martin and Roddy madly swinging her by turns.
a1938   in T. E. Lawrence Lett. (1938) 495   S[haw] was asked to swing the car for the old boy.
1957   L. F. R. Williams State of Israel iv. 42   Two men break off for a moment from swinging the engine of a tractor.
1977   Daily Tel. 12 Jan. 10/2   Attempting to ‘swing over’ modern high-compression engines would tax the strength of all but the most muscular.

1927—1977(Hide quotations)


 g. Cricket. Of a bowler: to bowl (the ball) with swing. Cf. swing n.2 8g.

1948   J. Arlott How to watch Cricket iii. 14   The term ‘seam-bowler’ is almost identical [with ‘pace bowler’] since it refers to those bowlers who use the seam to swing, or cut the ball.

1948—1948(Hide quotations)


 13. intransitive. To go along with undulating or swaying movement, or in a vigorous manner; to walk with swinging step. (See also swinging adj. 3a.)

1854   R. S. Surtees Handley Cross (new ed.) lxii. 443   Pulling up at the door of the Turtle Doves Hotel, he threw himself carelessly off the half cover-hack..and..swung into the hall with a noisy flourish.
1884   W. Black in Harper's Mag. Dec. 30/2   The coach swings along pleasantly.
1894   J. A. Steuart In Day of Battle xviii   The camels, swinging at a steady trot.

1854—1894(Hide quotations)


 a. transitive. figurative. To direct or control the movement or action of; to sway; to wield. U.S.

1873   ‘M. Twain’ & C. D. Warner Gilded Age xlv. 405   You will find we can swing a two-thirds vote.
1889   Voice (N.Y.) 2 May   The rum wing purposes swinging the party. The temperance innocents will have to submit or step out.
1890   ‘M. Twain’ in Pall Mall Gaz. 10 Sept. 3/2   His great charm to me is the way he swings nervous English!
1908   U. Sinclair Money-changers ii. 35   He can swing the market so as to break a man.
1923   ‘B. M. Bower’ Parowan Bonanza iii. 40   I want one that can swing something besides his tongue.

1873—1923(Hide quotations)


 b. To bring (something uncertain) about; to contrive or manage; to ‘wangle’. Frequently with it. colloquial.

1934   E. Pound Let. 7 Jan. (1971) 250   A guy named Collis... Wants me to edit a mag again. I have replied that..I wd. edit an annual... If he swings it, I shd. want to see a batch of yr. mss. in say about 6 months' time.
1937   P. G. Wodehouse Summer Moonshine (1938) i. 14   ‘The idea is to get him to trim the thing a little.’ ‘How do you expect to swing that?’
1941   B. Schulberg What makes Sammy Run? vi. 104   And Julian actually has a real job?.. How the hell did you swing it?
1955   ‘J. Christopher’ Year of Comet ii. 77   I'm not promising anything, but there's a chance I may be able to swing something useful there.
1962   ‘K. Orvis’ Damned & Destroyed x. 71   Phil had gotten himself a white nest-egg. Now how..could a half-broke addict-musician have swung that?
1975   M. Bradbury Hist. Man viii. 138   You can't con me, but you might swing it with someone else.

1934—1975(Hide quotations)


 a. To fix (the work) on the centre or centres in a lathe.

1881   F. J. Britten Watch & Clockmakers' Handbk. (ed. 4) 120   The work is ‘swung’ or arranged so as to yield to unequal pressure in polishing.

1881—1881(Hide quotations)


 b. Of a lathe: To have a ‘swing’ or capacity of (so much): see swing n.2 8d.

1889   P. N. Hasluck Model Engineer's Handybk. 22   Three inch centres—that is, a lathe which swings six inches.

1889—1889(Hide quotations)


 a. Music. intransitive. To play jazz music with swing (see swing n.2 10b). Also, to swing it .

[1918   (title of music)    Swinging along.
1928   (title of music)    Swing on the gait.]
1931   (title of music)    Swing it.
1933   Fortune Aug. 47/1   Returning to Trombonist Brown, he can get off, swing it, sock it, smear it, or go to town (all of which mean syncopate to beat the band).
1934   Esquire Feb. 96/2   This still leaves a comfortable margin of popular acclaim for the boys who couldn't read it, but who, in the parlance of hot, knew how to swing it.
1935   Swing Music Nov.–Dec. 248/2   In the Duke's band the brass section may swing while the rhythm-section and reed-section provide a harmonic..background.
1937   L. Armstrong Swing that Music xiii. 114   A lot of Americans in Paris came to hear me swing.
1955   in N. Shapiro & N. Hentoff Hear me talkin' to Ya xviii. 289   Don't let Benny scare you, you're a piano player, Johnny—and you swing.
1966   T. Pynchon Crying of Lot 49 iii. 48   The early crowd tends to dig your Radio Cologne sound. Later on we really swing.
1977   J. Wainwright Do Nothin' viii. 125   He sometimes plays pure ‘Palm Court’.., and without that extra lift which can make a band swing.

1931—1977(Hide quotations)


 b. Music. transitive. To play (a tune) with swing.

1936   (title of music)    Swingin' them Jingle Bells.
1938   Times Herald (Dallas) 1 Apr. iii. 11   The Detroit station pull[ed] ..Tommy off the air for ‘swinging’ Loch Lomond.
1947   Penguin Music Mag. II May 28   His instructions in the introduction to the score are that these are to be slightly ‘swung’, and he admits the influence upon his music of all Negro spirituals.
1954   Grove's Dict. Music (ed. 5) 600/2   A score can at most be more or less susceptible to being ‘swung’. One band may swing an arrangement while another may play the same arrangement without a touch of swing.
1968   Blues Unlimited Nov. 23   The waltz, swung so gently and delicately by the cajuns, is in constant demand.

1936—1968(Hide quotations)


 c. intransitive. To enjoy oneself, have fun, esp. in pursuit of what is considered fashionable or in a manner free of conventional constraints; to be up to date. Also of a place, to provide lively enjoyment.

1957   N. Mailer in Dissent Summer 288   Still I am just one cat in a world of cool cats, and everything interesting is crazy, or at least so the Squares who do not know how to swing would say.
1966   Reporter 24 Mar. 22/1   Surprising nightlife. Amsterdam swings.
1967   Wall St. Jrnl. 24 Jan. 30   He has to really swing: Motor-cycle racing, free-fall parachuting, [etc.].
1975   D. Lodge Changing Places ii. 59   Jane Austen and the Theory of Fiction. Professor Morris J. Zapp... ‘He makes Austen swing,’ was one comment.
1983   Times 25 Oct. 10/1   The fashion collections..are supposed to have proved..that ‘London swings again’.

1957—1983(Hide quotations)


 d. To engage in (promiscuous) sexual intercourse; spec. to advocate or engage in group sex or swapping sexual partners. Also, to swing both ways , to enjoy both heterosexual and homosexual relations. slang.

1964   W. & J. Breedlove Swap Clubs iii. 73   Almost everyone in the group knows one or more couples with which they swing who were not accepted by the recruitment committee.
1970   E. M. Brecher Sex Researchers ix. 251   If only one-tenth of one percent of married couples (one couple in a thousand) swing, however, the total still adds up to some 45,000 swinging American couples.
1972   J. G. Vermandel Last seen in Samarra xxii. 153   As for the mystery that still surrounded Robin Aseltine's death, the police had picked up and questioned several former girl and boy friends, Robin having been found to swing both ways.

1964—1972(Hide quotations)


 e. Of a party: to go with a swing (see swing n.2 6f). colloquial.

[1963   Amer. Speech 38 171   [Kansas University slang.] A particularly rough and noisy party..swinger.]
1975   D. Lodge Changing Places ii. 87   The party's beginning to swing.
1978   J. Anderson Angel of Death xii. 128   They were trying hard to make the party swing, but..there seemed a forced air about the revelry.

1975—1978(Hide quotations)


Draft additions  1993


 b. To throw (a punch), esp. in to swing a right (or left) . Also absol., to strike or flail at with the fist. Also figurative.

1894   A. Morrison Tales of Mean Streets 138   It was a hard fight, and both the lads were swinging the right again and again for a knock-out.
1920   Collier's 3 July 34/4   The other guy prob'ly didn't hear me because on the instant he swung a roundhouse left, square on the Kid's unprotected face.
1924   P. G. Wodehouse Bill the Conqueror viii. 147   She..swung her right and plugged Slingsby a perfect beauty in the eye.
1946   Sun (Baltimore) 14 Dec. 2/6   Mr. Collins leaped to his feet and swung a round-house right at the witness.
1974   P. Cave Dirtiest Picture Postcard xiii. 85   She swung at her empty glass, sending it flying across the smooth bar-top to smash against a row of optics.
1976   Publishers Weekly 5 Jan. 63/3   In this stimulating and controversial history of that period, Lukacs comes out swinging at a lot of cherished myths.

1894—1976(Hide quotations)


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