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hold sway (over someone)

To have or exert great control or influence (over someone). My father retired from politics years ago, but he still holds sway in the town to this day. It is suspected that the president's wife holds a lot of sway over the administration's policy.
See also: hold, sway

sway back and forth

to swing or bend from one direction to another. The pendulum swayed back and forth, counting off the seconds. Mary was swaying back and forth, keeping time to the music.
See also: and, back, forth, sway

sway from side to side

to swing or bend from one side to the other. The car swayed from side to side as we started out, indicating that something was seriously wrong. He swayed from side to side with the rhythm of the music.
See also: side, sway

sway someone to something

to convince someone to do something. I think I can sway her to join our side. We could not sway Ted to our position.
See also: sway

hold sway over

Dominate, have a controlling influence over, as in He held sway over the entire department. This idiom uses the noun sway in the sense of "power" or "dominion," a usage dating from the late 1500s.
See also: hold, over, sway

hold ˈsway (over somebody/something)

(literary) (of a person, a movement, an idea, etc.) have power, control or great influence over somebody/something: Rebel forces hold sway over much of the island.These ideas held sway for most of the century.
See also: hold, sway

hold sway

To have a controlling influence; dominate.
See also: hold, sway
References in periodicals archive ?
and then there is one's swaying in sympathy or of necessity.
That "The sway of language and its furtherings / Swept and swayed in us like nets in water" conveys, on the one hand, an impression of Northern Ireland trawled by the nets of empire--in this reading "furtherings" are extensions of cultural infiltration--and, on the other, an impression of people simply swaying back and forth, bending as much to their own inclinations as in accommodation of alien influences: water cannot be held by any net.
Yet to read the poem in the light of the lecture, resolving abstract into concrete images, might also be to limit, even to distort, how the poem operates, especially since the lecture establishes a causal link between moving train and swaying water that does not exist in the poem.
After the accident, the supermarket was closed and its parking lot emptied because other poles were swaying in the wind.
Though tests are still under way, Arup's chief engineer Tony Fitzpatrick said that "synchronised footfall" - hundreds of people stepping in unison from side to side - was the cause of the swaying.
They would then sit together, swaying gently, in what appears to some observers to be a trancelike state.
Then came a ferocious drumming, and from out of the jungle materialized a dozen swaying young people.
For 30 minutes, the crown jewels of Aitutaki mesmerized the visitors with a dazzling display of swaying hips, undulating arms and quivering knees.
Boston scientists have found that they can diminish swaying in elderly people by sending subliminal, erratic vibrations to the bottoms of the seniors' feet.
Then he joined in swaying with Gagne's incredible at-bat.
The Kingdome press box began swaying back and forth with the Indians in the field and Cleveland leading 6-3.
Overhanging speakers in the 20-year-old Kingdome began swaying.
As the friction increases, the paper begins to flutter, swaying chaotically from side to side during its downward course.
To plot swaying over time, sensors embedded in the metal platform measure force and twisting motion in three directions: side-to-side, front-to-back and up-down.
Another type of movement stimulation with preterms--developed, appropriately, in California--involves gently swaying, miniature waterbeds.