Past tense swung /swʌŋ/
, rarely swang /swæŋ/
; past participle swung
. Forms: OE swingan
, ( suinga
), ME swingen
, (ME suing(e
), ME swynge
, ME–15 swinge
, ME– swing
. past tense strong
OE, ME– swang
(OE plural swungon
, ME plural swonge(n
), ME suang
, ME–16 swong
, 17– swung
, 15 swynged
, 16 swinged
. past participle
, (OE–ME suungen
), ME iswonge
, (ME swongyn
), 17– swung
, 15–17 swinged
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. , , , , , , , and probably ,
b. To beat (the flesh) from, (the blood) out of.
Vte of his bak þe blode þai suang.
Þe flesch was from þe bones swonge.
c. Cookery. To beat up, ‘whip’ (milk, eggs, etc.). Obsolete.
c1000 III. 14
Gif poc sy on eagan nim arsapan & hinde meoluc mæng to somne & swyng.
?c1390 Form of Cury in Warner
Breke ayrenn and do thereto; and swyng it wel togydr.
Swyng eyryn, and do þer to.
Recipe brede gratyd, & eggis; & swyng þam to-gydere.
d. intransitive. To strike a blow with a sword; to come together with blows; to deliver a blow at.
Swiftli seþþe with swerdes swonge þei to-gider.
Þe white kniht wiþ his swerd swyngede to hem sone.
He swyngis out with a swerd & swappis him to dethe.
iv. l. 314
Wallace thar-with swyth with a suerd out swang.
Pirrus swappit out his sword, swange at þe kyng.
b. transitive. To carry or drive forcibly. Obsolete.
Full swift to the swalgh me swinget the flode.
1582 R. Stanyhurst tr. Virgil i. 14
With steeds he is swinged, downe picht in his hudge wagon emptye.
b. Of a person: To move backwards and forwards through the air upon a suspended rope or a swing (), as a sport; to ride in a swing.
1662 J. Davies tr. A. Olearius 93
They have also ropes to swing in.
1665 T. Herbert
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 II. 84
On two near elms the slacken'd cord I hung, Now high, now low my Blouzelinda swung.
c. Of a (suspended) bell: To give forth a sound by swinging; to sound, ring out.
1645 Milton Il Penseroso in 40
Oft..I hear the far-off Curfeu sound, Over som wide-water'd shoar, Swinging slow with sullen roar.
1812 G. Colman 85
A sound swung down the glen..From Bunamargy-Friery bell.
1874 J. R. Green ii. §6. 90
The burgesses gathered in town-mote when the bell swung out from St. Paul's.
d. figurative. To waver, vacillate; to change from one condition or position to the opposite (esp. in figurative phrases with pendulum as subject: see ).
1833 T. Chalmers II. x. 106
We swing as it were between two assumptions.
1836 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 152
He should endeavour..not to invest when the pendulum has swung upwards.
1890 102 378
I am by no means sure that the pendulum may not have swung too far in the opposite direction.
e. transitive. To mark or indicate by swinging; to swing seconds , to oscillate once in every second.
1737 W. Derham in
The next Experiments I shall mention, I made..by the Help of a good Month-Piece that swings Seconds.
A little clock..having a pendulum swinging seconds.
b. To cause (a person) to oscillate as in a swing; to give (one) a ride in a swing.
1615 G. Sandys 56
By two ioyning ropes that are fastned aboue, they will swing themselues as high as the transome.
1712 R. Steele 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
Their slaves had no other employment but to swing them in their hammocks.
1838 E. Bulwer-Lytton I. iii. vii. 300
Come to-morrow, and swing Sophy—no nice swinging since you've been gone.
c. Of a bell: To send forth a peal of sound.
1817 Scott II. viii. 163
The hour of twelve o'clock swung its summons over the city from the belfry.
1852 D. Rock III. i. ix. 294
The bells in every church steeple swung forth their peals of gladsomeness.
d. To lift and transport (something suspended), as with a crane; transferred to convey or transport from point to point.
1856 R. W. Emerson xvi. 282
Men..swinging a block of granite..with an ordinary derrick.
1862 H. Kingsley li
Who could tire,..at the strange dim vista of swinging horses between decks?
18.. 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.
e. reflexive. To hoist oneself up or transport oneself from point to point by grasping a support above. Also intransitive.
1899 S. R. Crockett i
The young man..swung lightly off his charger.
1899 S. R. Crockett ii
The Douglas swung himself into the saddle.
1902 V. Jacob xi
Putting his foot on the axle and swinging himself up.
1907 J. H. Patterson xii. 133
All kinds of monkeys chatter..overhead as they swing themselves from branch to branch.
. To be suspended from a support above (without necessarily implying oscillation).
b. gen. To be suspended, to hang; transferred, to appear as if suspended (= ). Also figurative, ( swing from, to depend or ‘hinge’ on).
1641 J. Tatham 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 615
His Budget, often filled, yet always poor, Might swing at ease behind his study door.
1829 Scott II. xi. 346
‘Yonder swings the Flying Stag,’ said Ital, pointing to an immense sign.
1859 Tennyson Enid in 10
A purple scarf, at either end whereof There swung an apple of the purest gold.
1869 A. J. Evans xix. 251
In the west, where a waning moon swung on the edge of the distant misty hills.
1888 G. A. Smith
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 i. 14
A lantern swung from the roof of the coach.
b. To strain (the back of a horse): = .
1844 H. Stephens III. 1258
If she [sc. a mare]..has met with an accident, such as having swung her back.
b. To go along or round in a curve or with a sweeping motion; to wheel, sweep.
1810 Scott i. 25
So forth the startled swan would swing.
1853 C. Kingsley II. vii. 183
A choir of nymphs swung round him hand in hand.
1856 S. Warner xxxv
With wind and headway the sloop gently swang up to her appointed place.
1865 C. Kingsley xv
In marched Hereward and all his men, and swung round through the gateway into the court.
1914 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.
c. to swing around the circle , to make a political tour of a constituency or larger area. U.S.
1866 E. McPherson v. 58
We swing around the circle of the Union with a fixed and unalterable determination to stand by it.
1871 G. W. Peck iv. 27
Until me Cousin Ulissis gets through swinging around the circle.
1887 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 29 Oct. 2
To stem the rising tide against him, Col. Roosevelt is to swing around the circle in Brooklyn to-night.
d. Cricket. Of a bowler: to impart swing to the ball on delivery. Also with the ball as subj. Cf. .
1900 P. F. Warner 84
Morton..has a beautiful natural action, and swings in the air with his arm.
1900 P. F. Warner 179
Rowe..has, too, a very good fast ‘yorker’ which swings in the air.
1952 ii. 37
The farther up the ball is pitched, the more ‘room’ it has in which to swing.
1977 June 30/1
Bowling medium-pace, he got the ball to swing in the heavy atmosphere.
e. Of a spacecraft: to pass by a planet using its gravitational field to change course.
1967 [implied in: 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 )].
1970 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 May 116/2
These two spacecraft are scheduled to be launched in 1977 and to swing by Jupiter in 1979.
b. Nautical. To turn (a ship) to all points in succession, in order to ascertain the deviation of her magnetic compass.
The necessity of having all iron steamships..swung, in order to ascertain the deviation of their compasses.
1877 W. J. J. Spry
Some hours were spent swinging for magnetical purposes.
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 ).
1819 J. G. Lockhart 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 II. xi. 295
The hounds dash towards the fence beyond, and swing their cast without a whimper.
1889 A. C. Gunter v. 46
He swings his team into the Avenue de l'Impératrice.
1897 30 127/1
The dogs have changed direction by the left flank... We swing them, make a short cut through a bit of brush.
d. In figurative phrase to swing it on or across (someone) = s.
1923 16 June 11
Too experienced to let even a thundering smart girl swing it on him as easily as that.
a1935 T. E. Lawrence
i. xi. 39
‘Swinging it on the..rookies, they are, the old sweats’ grumbled Tug.
1943 N. Marsh iv. 64
You saw Questing swing it across me.
e. to swing the gate (see quot. ). Cf. and . Australian and New Zealand slang.
1933 L. G. D. Acland in 16 Dec. 21/8
Swing the gate, to be the fastest shearer in the shed.
1941 S. J. Baker 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 ii. 12
A ringer is..said to ‘swing the gate’, presumably because he keeps the catching-pen gate swinging.
f. To turn a starting-handle in order to start (a motor vehicle, its engine). Also with over. colloquial.
1927 R. Lehmann 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
S[haw] was asked to swing the car for the old boy.
1957 L. F. R. Williams iv. 42
Two men break off for a moment from swinging the engine of a tractor.
1977 12 Jan. 10/2
Attempting to ‘swing over’ modern high-compression engines would tax the strength of all but the most muscular.
g. Cricket. Of a bowler: to bowl (the ball) with swing. Cf. .
1948 J. Arlott 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.
b. To bring (something uncertain) about; to contrive or manage; to ‘wangle’. Frequently with it. colloquial.
1934 E. Pound 7 Jan.
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
‘The idea is to get him to trim the thing a little.’ ‘How do you expect to swing that?’
1941 B. Schulberg vi. 104
And Julian actually has a real job?.. How the hell did you swing it?
1955 ‘J. Christopher’ ii. 77
I'm not promising anything, but there's a chance I may be able to swing something useful there.
1962 ‘K. Orvis’ x. 71
Phil had gotten himself a white nest-egg. Now how..could a half-broke addict-musician have swung that?
1975 M. Bradbury viii. 138
You can't con me, but you might swing it with someone else.
b. Of a lathe: To have a ‘swing’ or capacity of (so much): see .
1889 P. N. Hasluck 22
Three inch centres—that is, a lathe which swings six inches.
b. Music. transitive. To play (a tune) with swing.
(title of music)
Swingin' them Jingle Bells.
1938 1 Apr. iii. 11
The Detroit station pull[ed] ..Tommy off the air for ‘swinging’ Loch Lomond.
1947 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.
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 Nov. 23
The waltz, swung so gently and delicately by the cajuns, is in constant demand.
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 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 24 Mar. 22/1
Surprising nightlife. Amsterdam swings.
1967 24 Jan. 30
He has to really swing: Motor-cycle racing, free-fall parachuting, [etc.].
1975 D. Lodge ii. 59
Jane Austen and the Theory of Fiction. Professor Morris J. Zapp... ‘He makes Austen swing,’ was one comment.
1983 25 Oct. 10/1
The fashion collections..are supposed to have proved..that ‘London swings again’.
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 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 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 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.
e. Of a party: to go with a swing (see ). colloquial.
[1963 38 171
[Kansas University slang.] A particularly rough and noisy party..swinger.]
1975 D. Lodge ii. 87
The party's beginning to swing.
1978 J. Anderson xii. 128
They were trying hard to make the party swing, but..there seemed a forced air about the revelry.
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 138
It was a hard fight, and both the lads were swinging the right again and again for a knock-out.
1920 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 viii. 147
She..swung her right and plugged Slingsby a perfect beauty in the eye.
1946 14 Dec. 2/6
Mr. Collins leaped to his feet and swung a round-house right at the witness.
1974 P. Cave xiii. 85
She swung at her empty glass, sending it flying across the smooth bar-top to smash against a row of optics.
1976 5 Jan. 63/3
In this stimulating and controversial history of that period, Lukacs comes out swinging at a lot of cherished myths.
Back to top
This entry has not yet been fully updated (first published 1919).
In this entry:
- no room to swing a cat in
- swing a cast, to
- swing a cat, to
- swing a right (or left), to
- swing around the circle, to
- swing both ways, to
- swing from
- swing it on or across, to
- swing it, to
- swing Kelly (or Douglas), to
- swing seconds, to
- swing the gate, to
In other dictionaries:
- My entries(1)
- swinery, n.1778
- swine's cress, n.c1440
- swine's feather, n.1639
- swine's grass, n.12..
- swinestone, n.1794
- swine-sty, n.1340
- swing, n.1c1000
- swing, n.2a1400–50
- Swing, n.31830
- swing, v.1c725
- swing, v.2c1000
- swing, adv.c1400
- swing-, comb. form?1561
- swingbeat, n.1988
- swinge, n.11531
- swinge, n.2a1640
- swinge, v.1a1529
- swinge, v.21590
- swingebreech, n.1581
- swingeing | swinging...1603
- swingeing, adj. (and...1567
- swinger, n.11513
- swinger, n.21583
- swinger, n.31543
- swinging, n.c1200
- swinging, adj.a1560
- swingism, n.1841
- swingle, n.1c1325
- swingle, n.21967
- swingle, v.1c1325
- swingle, v.2c1450
- swingle-, comb. formc1325
- swingle-hand, n.1483
- swingletree, n.1483
- swingling, n.1c1000
- swingling, n.2?c1450
- swingling, n.3?a1500
- swingometer, n.1965
- swing-rope, n.1336
- swingster, n.1937