\ ə-ˈvȯid \
avoided; avoiding; avoids

Definition of avoid 

transitive verb

1a : to keep away from : shun They have been avoiding me.

b : to prevent the occurrence or effectiveness of avoid further delays

c : to refrain from avoid overeating

2 law : to make legally void (see void entry 1 sense 1a) : annul avoid a plea

3 archaic : to depart or withdraw from : leave

4 obsolete : void, expel

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Other words from avoid

avoidable \-ˈvȯi-də-bəl \ adjective
avoidably \-blē \ adverb
avoider noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of avoid in a Sentence

Why do you keep avoiding me? She took a detour to avoid the heavy traffic. They successfully avoided each other for days. He tried hard to avoid accidents. We need to avoid further delays. He was caught trying to avoid arrest. in an effort to avoid confusion I'm not going to be late if I can avoid it. How can I avoid paying too much tax? I am trying to avoid showing any hint of favoritism.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Laura Davies and Trish Johnson had a talk about avoiding double bogey at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open. Gene Chamberlain, chicagotribune.com, "Laura Davies, Trish Johnson share U.S. Senior Women's Open lead at Chicago Golf Club," 13 July 2018 The initial pilot helped more than 80 families avoid foreclosure. Katrease Stafford, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit home tax foreclosures: Why they've dropped dramatically," 13 July 2018 Then the agency would accept applications from failing pension funds, like Central States, that presented a plan to invest the loans to build wealth and avoid insolvency for 30 more years. Edward Mckinley, kansascity, "KC union retirees join rally in Ohio for pension fix — or is it a bailout?," 13 July 2018 Schnatter admitted Wednesday afternoon to using the N-word in a clumsy comparison on the conference call, intended to train him on avoiding public relations disasters. Darcy Costello, The Courier-Journal, "John Schnatter's departure makes for better Papa John's stock price," 12 July 2018 Finally, there will be no avoiding the question of Russian meddling in the American elections. The Economist, "Vladimir Putin’s hopes for his long-awaited meeting with Donald Trump," 14 July 2018 The plea deal helped him avoid a more severe sentence. Bree Burkitt, azcentral, "Former Navajo Nation police officer sentenced to 16 years in prison for fatal DUI crash," 14 July 2018 That gift also brought dividends to Stewart, who in addition to a tax deduction, received a charitable annuity and avoided a capital gains tax. Shari Rudavsky, Indianapolis Star, "These donors love their alma maters so much they gave them the roofs over their heads," 13 July 2018 But this year in Sun Valley, the moguls who might logically be running into each other’s arms were busy avoiding each other. Keach Hagey, WSJ, "Deal or No Deal: The Shadow Over Sun Valley," 13 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'avoid.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of avoid

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for avoid

Middle English, from Anglo-French avoider, alteration of Old French esvuider, from es- (from Latin ex-) + vuider to empty — more at void entry 3

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

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Statistics for avoid

Last Updated

14 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for avoid

The first known use of avoid was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for avoid



English Language Learners 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)


\ ə-ˈvȯid \
avoided; avoiding

Kids Definition of avoid

1 : to keep away from Are you avoiding me?

2 : to keep from happening avoid mistakes

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

Legal Definition of avoid 

1 : to make void or undo : annul the trustee may avoid any transfer of interest of the debtor in propertyU.S. Code

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

Other words from avoid

avoidability noun
avoidable adjective
avoidance noun

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Comments on avoid

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to make amends

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