avoid·​ance | \ə-ˈvȯi-dᵊn(t)s \

Definition of avoidance 

1 obsolete

a : an action of emptying, vacating, or clearing away

b : outlet

3 : an act or practice of avoiding or withdrawing from something

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Examples of avoidance in a Sentence

a writer known for avoidance of sentimentality a complete avoidance of sentimentality

Recent Examples on the Web

There are many ways to interpret that, but one of them is through the prism of loss avoidance. Neil Irwin, New York Times, "Two Words That Could Shape the Politics of the Trade War: Loss Aversion," 13 July 2018 In fact, Washington set a record for that policy of avoidance in 2017 by passing six short-term extensions in less than a year. John R. Kasich, WSJ, "Entitlements Will Eat America’s Economy," 30 May 2018 Unfortunately, strict avoidance of the problem foods is still the only way to prevent a reaction. Gary Kleiner, M.d., Ph.d., miamiherald, "Children’s food allergies can be minor — or life threatening | Miami Herald," 27 Mar. 2018 Of course, avoidance is neither an effective nor a possible strategy in all situations. NBC News, "Work stress can be contagious: Here's how to fight back," 21 Mar. 2018 One reels from outrage and pain to distracted avoidance, even numbness. Rhonda Garelick, The Cut, "The Jacket Heard Round the World," 22 June 2018 The touring non-profit teaches accident avoidance, braking technique, highway blind spots and other obstacles in the teen's own vehicle. Elisabeth Leamy, chicagotribune.com, "How best to insure your teen driver and keep costs low, safety high," 10 Oct. 2017 The stats are terrible—190th in strokes gained putting, 170th in total putting, 118th in one-putt percentage, 161st in three-putt avoidance—but the eye test might be even worse. SI.com, "U.S. Open Predictions: Winner, Sleeper, Tiger, Phil and More," 13 June 2018 Here’s a thought experiment: Think about your car’s automatic emergency braking, sometimes known as precrash or collision avoidance. Andy Kessler, WSJ, "The Canard About Falling Incomes," 3 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of avoidance

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

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Statistics for avoidance

Last Updated

10 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for avoidance

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

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More Definitions for avoidance



English Language Learners Definition of avoidance

: the act of avoiding something


avoid·​ance | \ə-ˈvȯi-dᵊns \

Kids Definition of avoidance

: the act of avoiding something avoidance of trouble


noun, often attributive
avoid·​ance | \ə-ˈvȯid-ᵊn(t)s \

Medical Definition of avoidance 

: the act or practice of keeping away from or withdrawing from something undesirable reinforced by escape or avoidance of electric shock— E. 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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Comments on avoidance

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


noxious or harmful

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