Green’s Dictionary of Slang

swinging adj.2

[SE swing + swing v. (8)]
(orig. US)

1. uninhibited, lively, fashionable; esp. in phrs. swinging London, swinging ’60s.

[US] ‘Good-Doing Wheeler’ in D. Wepman et al. Life (1976) 75: Since he’d been gone she’d come on strong / And was one of the swingingest broads on the set.
Weekend Tel. 16 Apr. 12/2: Diana Vreeland [...] editor of Vogue [...] has said simply ‘London is the most swinging city in the world at the moment’.
[UK]J. Barlow Burden of Proof 18: Swinging London and all that scene?
[US]G.V. Higgins Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973) 13: They tell me there’s some hash floating around in the real swinging places.
[UK]M. Sellers Leonardo and Others 56: Zuleika lived life to the full. She was a product of the swinging sixties. So what? So was I.
[US]D. Woodrell Muscle for the Wing 10: The swinging side of the St Bruno night world had been run as smoothly and nearly as openly as a pizza franchise.
[UK]Observer Screen 4 July 6: Cage, a responsible single parent, saves swinging bachelor Smith’s life in the line of duty.

2. a general term of approval.

[US]L. Hughes Tambourines to Glory I vi: I had such a swinging little helper.
[US]Laurents & Sondheim West Side Story I i: When you’re a Jet, / You’re the swingin’est thing. / Little boy, you’re a man; / Little man, you’re a king!
[US]PADS XXX 47: Swingin’, the highest term of approval. May be applied to anything a jazzman likes, or any person.
[US](con. 1950s) H. Simmons Man Walking On Eggshells 189: ‘You dig that?’ ‘Yeh, man, that’s swinging.’.
[US](con. 1950s) D. Goines Whoreson 139 That’s swinging, brother.
[US]R. De Christoforo Grease 118: It’s cool, Kenick. It’s swinging.

3. pertaining to drug use and culture.

[US]E. Gilbert Vice Trap 74: He was a swinging doctor, himself; you know he became a connection later?

4. aware, ‘on the ball’.

[US] in T.I. Rubin Sweet Daddy 37: I’m all clued in. In here [i.e. prison] I’m swinging already. [...] Swinging, swinging. Making it go – working it – getting it.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

swinging dick (n.) (also swinging Richard) [SE swinging + dick n.1 (5). Popularized in Tom Wolfe’s novel Bonfire of the Vanities (1987) where big swinging dicks was used to characterize the most successful of Wall Street’s financial wheeler-dealers] (US)

1. a person; usu. in phr. every swinging dick; thus phr. swing a big dick, to be influential.

[[UK]Rochester (attrib.) Sodom 1st Prologue: Damn’d feeble Pricks [...] We’re for the more substanial sollid Joies / of a brave Romantick swinging Prick / That’s twice five inches long].
[[US](con. WWII) J.O. Killens And Then We Heard The Thunder (1964) 12: All right! Every living ass ... Every living ass with a swinging dick [...] release that bed! [Ibid.] 302: A panorama of backsides [...] Flat round, fat, skinny, white, black, pink, brown. Every living with a swinging].
[US]D. Pearce Cool Hand Luke (1967) 71: Ah’ll bet any swinging dick anything he wants to bet.
[US]P. Roth My Life as a Man (1974) 19: I guaranfuckingtee you gentlemen, not one swingin’ dick will be leavin’ this fiddlefuckin’ area to so much as chew on a nanny goat’s tittie.
[US]L. Heinemann Paco’s Story (1987) 23: The whole company, except for this one cat, caught some mean kind of shit and every swinging dick but him bought the motherfucker.
[US](con. 1968) Bunch & Cole Reckoning for Kings (1989) 203: Every single swinging Richard in the room was print. Not a TV news dolt in sight.
[US]L. Stringer Grand Central Winter (1999) 33: The city pays them for every swinging dick that comes through the door.
[UK]Guardian Unlimited 12 Oct. [Internet] Almost every soldier [...] was in battle against the Taliban. One said: ‘They just used every swinging dick, as they say in the army.’.
[Aus]S. Maloney Sucked In 13: Quinlan had swung a very big dick in [...] Labor’s Victorian machine.
[US]G. Pelecanos (con. 1972) What It Was 77: Another failed swinging dick from the neghborhood.
[Aus]T. Spicer Good Girl Stripped Bare 237: [He] is variously described as a ‘hard arse’, ‘big swinging dick’ and ‘macho bully’.

2. an aggressive person.

[US]T. O’Brien Going After Cacciato (1980) 254: You a swingin’ dick, Berlin? [...] You got guts?
[Aus]S. Maloney Big Ask 147: Spider acted like a big swinging dick at school.