Is "swinging left and right" idiomatic? Swinging means "to move laterally". I am not sure if I am wrong, but it just doesn't sound right and I don't imagine the phrase being used in a novel, so is there a more idiomatic way of saying this?

For example:

Robert swung his body left and right on the bed as he never experienced laying on a bed before since he had been homeless all his life.

  • 1
    'Swinging left and right' is more likely to be used politically in AmE. What do you mean by swinging on a bed? Unless it's a hammock, this is not idiomatic. Please include the dictionary definition of swing that you mean to use here. – Davo Jun 14 at 11:05
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    The "idiomatic standard" for moving like this in a bed is tossed and turned. But as that link to Collins Dictionary says, If you toss and turn, you keep moving around in bed and cannot sleep properly, for example because you are ill or worried. So it wouldn't fit your specific context, where presunably Robert is [exuberantly, expansively] sprawling / stretching out / lounging on the bed (this being a novel "luxury" from his perspective). – FumbleFingers Jun 14 at 13:17
  • This usage of "swing" is itself unidiomatic. When you swing something, it's end is free and dangling in the air. You could hang your arm or leg over the edge of the bed and swing that limb left and right through the air, but moving your body around in bed is not properly called swinging. – Canadian Yankee Jun 14 at 14:57
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    As the other comments are trying to suggest, left and right is fine. As would be tossed his body left and right. The overall expression is idiomatic; however, the specific verb used is unusual and (without a contrived situation) not a good description of what is happening. – Jason Bassford Jun 14 at 15:53
  • One of my pet peeves is mistaking "lay" and "lie." 99% of American readers will never notice, but 1% will groan at that "laying" instead of "lying." – Jeff Morrow Jun 15 at 4:10

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