American Dictionary of the English Language

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SWAY, verb transitive

1. To move or wave; to wield with the hand; as, to sway the scepter.

2. To bias; to cause to lean or incline to one side. Let not temporal advantages sway you from the line of duty. The king was swayed by his council from the course he intended to pursue.

As bowls run true by being made

On purpose false, and to be sway'd.

3. To rule; to govern; to influence or direct by power and authority, or by moral force.

This was the race

To sway the world, and land and sea subdue.

She could not sway her house.

Take heed lest passion sway

Thy judgment to do aught which else free will

Would not admit.

SWAY, verb intransitive To be drawn to one side by weight; to lean. A wall sways to the west.

The balance sways on our part.

[This sense seems to indicate that this word and swag, are radically one.]

1. To have weight or influence.

The example of sundry churches--doth sway much.

2. To bear rule; to govern.

Had'st thou sway'd as kings should do--

3. In seamen's language, to hoist, particularly applied to the lower yards and to the topmast yards, etc.

SWAY, noun The swing or sweep of a weapon.

To strike with huge two-handed sway

1. Any thing moving with bulk and power.

Are not you mov'd when all the sway of earth.

Shakes like a thing unfirm?

2. Preponderation; turn or cast of balance.


When to advance, or stand, or turn the sway of battle.

3. Power exerted in governing; rule; dominion; control.

When vice prevails and impious men bear sway

The post of honor is a private station.

4. Influence; weight or authority that inclines to one side; as the sway of desires. All the world is subject to the sway of fashion.