To pivot is to turn or rotate, like a hinge. Or a basketball player pivoting back and forth on one foot to protect the ball.

When you're not talking about a type of swiveling movement, you can use pivot to mean the one central thing that something depends upon. The central pivot of your student government campaign, for example, might be longer recess time. Or your plans to go to the beach this weekend could pivot upon whether it rains, as the weather channel has predicted, or gets surprisingly sunny.

Definitions of pivot
  1. noun
    axis consisting of a short shaft that supports something that turns
    synonyms: pin
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    the pivot about which a lever turns
    a pin or bolt forming the pivot of a hinge
    type of:
    axis, axis of rotation
    the center around which something rotates
  2. noun
    the act of turning on (or as if on) a pivot
    “the golfer went to the driving range to practice his pivot
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    type of:
    rotary motion, rotation
    the act of rotating as if on an axis
  3. noun
    the person in a rank around whom the others wheel and maneuver
    synonyms: pivot man
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    type of:
    marcher, parader
    walks with regular or stately step
  4. verb
    turn on a pivot
    synonyms: swivel
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    do a pirouette, usually as part of a dance
    type of:
    change orientation or direction, also in the abstract sense
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