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verb \ə-ˈvȯid\

Simple Definition of avoid

  • : to stay away from (someone or something)

  • : to prevent the occurrence of (something bad, unpleasant, etc.)

  • : to keep yourself from doing (something) or participating in (something)

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of avoid

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to make legally void :  annul <avoid a plea>

  3. 2 obsolete :  void, expel

  4. 3 a :  to keep away from :  shun <have been avoiding me> b :  to prevent the occurrence or effectiveness of <avoid further delays> c :  to refrain from <avoid overeating>

  5. 4 archaic :  to depart or withdraw from :  leave

avoidableplay \-ˈvȯi-də-bəl\ adjective
avoidablyplay \-blē\ adverb
avoider noun

Examples of avoid in a sentence

  1. Why do you keep avoiding me?

  2. She took a detour to avoid the heavy traffic.

  3. They successfully avoided each other for days.

  4. He tried hard to avoid accidents.

  5. We need to avoid further delays.

  6. He was caught trying to avoid arrest.

  7. in an effort to avoid confusion

  8. I'm not going to be late if I can avoid it.

  9. How can I avoid paying too much tax?

  10. I am trying to avoid showing any hint of favoritism.

Origin of avoid

Middle English, from Anglo-French avoider, alteration of Old French esvuider, from es- (from Latin ex-) + vuider to empty — more at void

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of avoid

escape, avoid, evade, elude, shun, eschew mean to get away or keep away from something. escape stresses the fact of getting away or being passed by not necessarily through effort or by conscious intent <nothing escapes her sharp eyes>. avoid stresses forethought and caution in keeping clear of danger or difficulty <try to avoid past errors>. evade implies adroitness, ingenuity, or lack of scruple in escaping or avoiding <evaded the question by changing the subject>. elude implies a slippery or baffling quality in the person or thing that escapes <what she sees in him eludes me>. shun often implies an avoiding as a matter of habitual practice or policy and may imply repugnance or abhorrence <you have shunned your responsibilities>. eschew implies an avoiding or abstaining from as unwise or distasteful <a playwright who eschews melodrama>.

AVOID Defined for Kids


verb \ə-ˈvȯid\

Definition of avoid for Students


  1. 1 :  to keep away from <Are you avoiding me?>

  2. 2 :  to keep from happening <avoid mistakes>

  3. 3 :  to keep from doing or being <Brian turned back to avoid embarrassing the pilot … — Gary Paulsen, Hatchet>

Law Dictionary


transitive verb

Legal Definition of avoid

  1. 1 :  to make void or undo :  annul <the trustee may avoid any transfer of interest of the debtor in property — U.S. Code>

  2. 2 :  to respond to (an allegation or averment) by declaring that facts alleged do not result in liability <averments in a pleading to which no responsive pleading is required or permitted shall be taken as denied or avoidedU.S. Code> — see also confession and avoidance — compare deny

  3. 3 :  to prevent the occurrence of or responsibility for especially through lawful means <avoid a tax> — compare evade

avoidability noun
avoidable adjective
avoidance noun

Origin of avoid

modification of Old French esvuider to destroy, literally, to empty, from es- out + vuider to empty

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up avoid? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to manage or play awkwardly

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