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v. swayed, sway·ing, sways
1. To swing back and forth or to and fro. See Synonyms at swing.
2. To incline or bend to one side; veer: She swayed and put out a hand to steady herself.
a. To incline toward change, as in opinion or feeling: He swayed toward trying out for the chorus.
b. To fluctuate, as in outlook.
1. To cause to swing back and forth or to and fro: The breeze swayed the wheat.
2. To cause to incline or bend: The wind swayed the trees toward the house.
3. To exert influence or control over: His speech swayed the voters.
4. Nautical To hoist (a mast or yard) into position.
a. To rule or govern.
b. To wield, as a weapon or scepter.
1. The act of moving from side to side with a swinging motion.
2. Influence or control: The mayor has a lot of sway in our town.
[Middle English sweien, probably of Scandinavian origin.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.