Could someone explain to me what swing means in this sentence?

"... the party was swinging ..."

I've checked a dictionary and the word swing has a lot of meanings...

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Sense 3 of the OED's adjective - swinging begins by relating it first to rhythmic movement, then to music (a and b).

Sense 3c follows on from there and it is the one that you want:

c. Uninhibited, ignoring conventions; lively and up to date: applied to persons, places ( swinging London), etc., and spec. to the 1960s ( swinging Sixties). Also, as a general term of approval: fine, splendid, ‘great’ (temporarily contrasted with dodgy). colloq.

1958 Publ. Amer. Dial. Soc. xxx. 47 Swingin', the highest term of approval. May be applied to anything a jazzman likes, or any person.

1959 Manch. Guardian 25 June 8/7 [She] informed him that she wants a large place ‘in a swinging part of town’..so he is looking around in Chelsea and Knightsbridge.

1962 J. Baldwin Another Country (1963) ii. iii. 299 ‘You feeling all right?’.. ‘He's going to feel just swinging.’

1964 N. Vaughan in T.V. World 24 Sept. 48 When people ask me how I feel about the months ahead, I tell them: ‘Sometimes it's a bit dodgy, but most of the time it's swinging!’

1965 Weekend Tel. 16 Apr. p. xii/2 Diana Vreeland..editor of Vogue..has said simply ‘London is the most swinging city in the world at the moment’.

1967 Listener 19 Jan. 107/1 He does not fit into the Zeitgeist of the swinging 'sixties.

1980 M. Sellers Leonardo & Others x. 56 Zuleika lived life to the full. She was a product of the swinging sixties.

1982 S. Brett Murder Unprompted v. 51 The British film industry..was committed to making zany films about Swinging London.

And finally in sense d - it takes on a sexual connotation:

d. Of or relating to a person who engages in promiscuous sexual activity (esp. group sex or the swapping of sexual partners). slang.

1964 W. & J. Breedlove Swap Clubs ii. 43 A ‘swinging couple’.

1978 Bulletin (Sydney) 11 Apr. 6/2 ‘Swinging couples’ are no longer addicted to square dancing but to the less innocuous pastime of wife-swapping.


To swing:

  • [I] informal - to be ​exciting and ​enjoyable:

    • You need ​music to make a ​party swing.

(Cambridge Dictionary)

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