Definition of sway in English:


Line breaks: sway
Pronunciation: /sweɪ



[mass noun] Back to top  
  • 1A rhythmical movement from side to side: the easy sway of her hips
    More example sentences
    • His rhythmic sway and conservative movements reflect his roots-based origins.
    • I could feel every sway of Will's hips, and every suggestive movement he made with his feet.
    • The breeze whipped through the room and made fire sway side to side over splintered wood as it shrieked and sweltered, then fell.
    swing, sweep, wave, roll, shake, movement, oscillation, undulation


hold sway

Have great power or influence over a particular person, place, or domain: they had held sway in France for a quarter of a century such arguments would not hold sway in a university
More example sentences
  • Not only does this oligarchy of permanent interests (or call it ‘elite consensus’) control all levers of power, it also holds sway over the country's resources.
  • Andalucia is a traditional, rural society where, despite all evidence of macho posturing, the power of the matriarch holds sway.
  • Ultimately, it is because the influences holding sway are far deeper than simply editorial decisions about how journalists cover particular stories.
hold power, wield power, exercise power, rule, be most powerful, be in power, be in control, predominate, have the ascendancy, have the greatest influence, have the upper hand, have the edge, have/hold the whip hand
informal run the show, be in the driving seat, be in the saddle


Middle English: corresponding in sense to Low German swājen 'be blown to and fro' and Dutch zwaaien 'swing, walk in a tottering way'.

More definitions of sway

Definition of sway in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day skosh
Pronunciation: skōSH
a small amount; a little