avoid·​ance | \ ə-ˈvȯi-dᵊn(t)s How to pronounce avoidance (audio) \

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

Though the study projected the county would forgo potential net revenue by limiting development through the ordinance, long-term cost savings associated with the avoidance of infrastructure outlays were $865 million by 2038. Erin B. Logan, baltimoresun.com, "Study: Updated development ordinance could cost Howard $1 billion in revenues," 7 Aug. 2019 But in recent months, some unwritten rules—the avoidance of surprises, co-ordination of positions before big decisions, the need to keep disputes private—have been swept aside by a burst of Gallic vigor. David Meyer, Fortune, "Mark Zuckerberg's Privacy Practices: CEO Daily," 13 June 2019 All of these initiatives are geared at providing a safe environment for patients at risk with the avoidance of harm. Jennifer Kimrey, Houston Chronicle, "Diamond Sponsor: Houston Methodist focuses on patient-safety measures," 30 Apr. 2018 Baptist explains that, right now, the main treatment strategies doctors like him use fall into three categories: medication, immunotherapy, and avoidance. Lucas Joel, Quartz, "Detroit accidentally caused a pollen crisis by bulldozing the city’s abandoned areas," 15 Aug. 2019 Increasing that rate to 45 percent and cutting the exemption in half would lead to more broken-up family businesses and inefficient tax avoidance. Rachel Greszler, National Review, "Taxing Inheritances Won’t Fix Social Security," 9 July 2019 This choice—and the author’s scrupulous avoidance of the improbable twists and turns that characterized the plots of earlier romances—allowed her to explore instead the characters’ mental states in exquisite detail. Daniel Mendelsohn, Town & Country, "How Infidelity Helped Create the Novel," 2 May 2019 Our surrogate mothers monitor and score their behavior to indicate when the orangutans have a clear grasp of climbing, foraging, nest building, predator avoidance, and healthy socialization. Kelli Bender, PEOPLE.com, "School for Orphaned Baby Orangutans Helps the Young Primates Grow Up and Graduate to the Wild," 1 Aug. 2019 Some options are: escape, avoidance, and confrontation. Amy Dickinson, BostonGlobe.com, "Woman fears running into her hometown abuser," 29 July 2019

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

15 Sep 2019

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 How to pronounce avoidance (audio) \

Kids Definition of avoidance

: the act of avoiding something avoidance of trouble


noun, often attributive
avoid·​ance | \ ə-ˈvȯid-ᵊn(t)s How to pronounce avoidance (audio) \

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).


miscellaneous remnants or debris

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