avoid·​ance ə-ˈvȯi-dᵊn(t)s How to pronounce avoidance (audio)
: an action of emptying, vacating, or clearing away
: outlet
: an act or practice of avoiding or withdrawing from something

Example Sentences

a writer known for avoidance of sentimentality a complete avoidance of sentimentality
Recent Examples on the Web The Treasury Department estimated in 2021 that under-staffing and outdated technology lead to the IRS’ failure to collect about 15% of taxes owed, with the bulk of the tax avoidance involving the very wealthiest Americans. David Lautersenior Editor, Los Angeles Times, 13 Jan. 2023 Beginning in 2021, ProPublica started publishing The Secret IRS Files, a series of stories on the tax avoidance techniques of the ultrawealthy. Jesse Eisinger, ProPublica, 13 Dec. 2022 These data highlight an issue at the heart of the Make Amazon Pay campaign, which aims to draw attention to Amazon’s poor record on workers’ rights, climate change, and tax avoidance. Amanda Shendruk, Quartz, 25 Nov. 2022 All of this is consistent with decades of Trump family aggressive tax avoidance, stretching back to the 45th president’s father, Fred, in the 1940s. Edward J. Mccaffery, CNN, 24 Nov. 2022 The blitz was emblematic of the messy nature of tax policymaking and how policies meant to curb tax avoidance can spring new carve-outs on the fly. Alan Rappeport, New York Times, 8 Aug. 2022 Smart mapping, obstacle avoidance technology and Alexa compatibility are all part of the Roomba j7's impressive feature set. Chicago Tribune, 27 Nov. 2022 Dickinson went on to add that the debris would continue to pose a threat to activities in outer space for years to come, putting satellites and space missions at risk, as well as forcing more collision-avoidance maneuvers. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, 27 Oct. 2022 Waymo has been building out safety features such as collision avoidance and quick response times. Sebastian Herrera, WSJ, 24 Oct. 2022 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of avoidance was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near avoidance

Cite this Entry

“Avoidance.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/avoidance. Accessed 5 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


avoid·​ance ə-ˈvȯid-ᵊn(t)s How to pronounce avoidance (audio)
: the act or an instance of avoiding something

Medical Definition


avoid·​ance ə-ˈvȯid-ᵊn(t)s How to pronounce avoidance (audio)
often attributive
: the act or practice of keeping away from or withdrawing from something undesirable
reinforced by escape or avoidance of electric shockE. S. Katkin & E. N. Murray
avoidance learning
especially : an anticipatory response undertaken to avoid a noxious stimulus
conditioned avoidance in mice

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