- 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.]
- 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.]
- 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.]
- [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.)