First Name
in the U.S.
since 1880
Last Name
in the U.S.
in 2010
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How to Pronounce Sway

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Meaning and Origin

What does the name Sway mean? Find out below.

Origin and Meaning of Sway

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Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
verb Sway
  1. To move or wield with the hand; to swing; to wield; as, to sway the scepter."As sparkles from the anvil rise, When heavy hammers on the wedge are swayed." [Spenser.]
  2. To influence or direct by power and authority; by persuasion, or by moral force; to rule; to govern; to guide."The will of man is by his reason swayed." [Shak.]"She could not sway her house." [Shak.]"This was the race To sway the world, and land and sea subdue." [Dryden.]
  3. To cause to incline or swing to one side, or backward and forward; to bias; to turn; to bend; warp; as, reeds swayed by wind; judgment swayed by passion."As bowls run true by being made On purpose false, and to be swayed." [Hudibras.]"Let not temporal and little advantages sway you against a more durable interest." [Tillotson.]
  4. [Naut] To hoist; as, to sway up the yards.
    synonyms: To bias; rule; govern; direct; influence; swing; move; wave; wield.

Etymology: OE. sweyen, Icel. sveigja, akin to E. swing; cf. D. zwaaijen to wield, swing. See Swing, and cf. Swag (v. i.)

verb Sway
  1. To be drawn to one side by weight or influence; to lean; to incline."The balance sways on our part." [Bacon.]
  2. To move or swing from side to side; or backward and forward.
  3. To have weight or influence."The example of sundry churches . . . doth sway much." [Hooker.]
  4. To bear sway; to rule; to govern."Hadst thou swayed as kings should do." [Shak.]
noun Sway
  1. The act of swaying; a swaying motion; the swing or sweep of a weapon."With huge two-handed sway brandished aloft." [Milton.]
  2. Influence, weight, or authority that inclines to one side; as, the sway of desires.
  3. Preponderance; turn or cast of balance."Expert When to advance, or stand, or turn the sway Of battle." [Milton.]
  4. Rule; dominion; control."When vice prevails, and impious men bear sway, The post of honor is a private station." [Addison.]
  5. A switch or rod used by thatchers to bind their work.(Prov. Eng)
    synonyms: Rule; dominion; power; empire; control; influence; direction; preponderance; ascendency.
Other Dictionary Sources
  1. Pitching dangerously to one side
  2. Controlling influence
  3. Move back and forth or sideways ("the tall building swayed")
  4. Cause to move back and forth ("the wind swayed the trees gently")
  5. Move or walk in a swinging or swaying manner
  6. Win approval or support for ("His speech did not sway the voters")

Earlier swey (“to fall, swoon”), from Middle English sweyen, from Old Norse sveigja (“to bend, bow”), from Proto-Germanic *swaigijaną (compare Saterland Frisian swooie (“to swing, wave, wobble”), Dutch zwaaien, Dutch Low Saxon sweuen (“to sway in the wind”), from Proto-Indo-European *swaig- (compare Lithuanian svaĩgti (“to become giddy or dizzy”), the second element of Avestan 𐬞𐬀𐬌𐬭𐬌-𐬱𐬑𐬎𐬀𐬑𐬙𐬀 (pairi-šxuaxta, “to surround”), Sanskrit स्वजते (svájate, “he embraces, enfolds”)). Cognate to Proto-Slavic *čьvati (“swell, become bigger”), Ancient Greek κυέω (kuéō, “become pregnant”).

  1. The act of swaying; a swaying motion; a swing or sweep of a weapon.
  2. A rocking or swinging motion.
    The old song caused a little in everyone in the room.
  3. Influence, weight, or authority that inclines to one side
    I doubt I'll hold much with someone so powerful.
  4. Preponderance; turn or cast of balance.
  5. Rule; dominion; control.
  6. A switch or rod used by thatchers to bind their work.
  7. The maximum amplitude of a vehicle's lateral motion

Notable Persons Named Sway

Sway Calloway is a journalist, news producer, rapping, and rapper. He was most active from 1990 to present. Sway was born on July 23rd, 1970 in Oakland, California.


Sway is a british hip hop and grime music musician. His most notable accomplishments were from 2004 to present. Sway was given the name Derek Andrew Safo on September 5th, 1982.


Notable Persons With the Last Name Sway

Sway is a british hip hop and grime music musician. His most notable accomplishments were from 2004 to present. Sway was given the name Derek Andrew Safo on September 5th, 1982.


Marc Sway is a soul music and pop music singing. He has been prominent since 2002. Marc was given the name Stefan Marc Bachofen on June 25th, 1979 in Männedorf.


Where is the name Sway popular?

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Popularity of Sway as a last name

The map shows the absolute popularity of the name Sway as a last name in each of the states. See other popular names in Ohio, California, or Illinois.

Ethnicity Distribution

Ethnicity Sway U.S.
  White 82.05% 64.26%
  African American 4.49% 11.96%
  Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander 8.97% 4.85%
  American Indian and Alaska Native 0.00% 0.69%
  Two or More Ethnicities 0.00% 1.76%
  Hispanic or Latino 0.00% 16.26%

Of Last Name Sway

People with the last name Sway are most frequently White

Entire United States

Fun Facts about the name Sway

  • How Popular is the name Sway? Sway is the 25,339th most popular name of all time. As a last name Sway was the 112,568th most popular name in 2010.
  • How many people with the first name Sway have been born in the United States? From 1880 to 2017, the Social Security Administration has recorded 224 babies born with the first name Sway in the United States. That's more than enough people named Sway to occupy the territory of Pitcairn Islands (United Kingdom) with an estimated population of 66 (as of July 1, 2008).
  • What year were 5 or more babies first named Sway? The name was first given to 5 or more babies in the year 2001 when it was given as a first name to 8 new born babies.
  • What year had the most people named Sway born? The highest recorded use of the first name Sway was in 2005 with a total of 15 babies.
  • Weird things about the name Sway: Your name in reverse order is Yaws. A random rearrangement of the letters in your name (anagram) will give Yasw. How do you pronounce that?
  • How many people have the last name Sway? In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau surveyed 156 people with the last name Sway.
  • How likely are you to meet someone with the last name of Sway? Sway is one of the most unique last names recorded.

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  • Sources:
  • U.S. Census Bureau: Frequently Occurring Surnames from the Census 2000 (public domain).
  • U.S. Social Security Administration: Popular Baby Names, Death Master File (public domain).
  • 1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary via the Collaborative International Dictionary of English (License)
  • Other Dictionary Sources: WordNet 3.1 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University (License).
  • Wiktionary: Titles and License.
  • Notable persons via Wikipedia: Titles and License. Click each image for the attribution information.