\ ə-ˈvȯid How to pronounce avoid (audio) \
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 \ ə-​ˈvȯi-​də-​bəl How to pronounce avoid (audio) \ adjective
avoidably \ ə-​ˈvȯi-​də-​blē How to pronounce avoid (audio) \ 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 For those with the means to stay home and the ability and determination to avoid gatherings, COVID-19 has remained a relatively low risk. Los Angeles Times, "From Costco and Target to TV sitcom sets, L.A. workplaces hit with coronavirus outbreaks," 4 Jan. 2021 San Antonio’s coronavirus numbers continued to climb over the New Year’s holiday, and officials pounded the increasingly urgent drum beat to avoid large gatherings, wear that mask when in public and stay at home as much as possible. Liz Hardaway, ExpressNews.com, "‘Our hospitals are stressed’ — 1,163 coronavirus patients in San Antonio hospitals," 2 Jan. 2021 Public health officials have said the nation could experience a spike in infections after holiday gatherings and recent record airline travel, even after warnings to avoid gatherings that include people outside someone’s household. Washington Post, "Virginia sets single-day record for coronavirus infections on final day of 2020," 31 Dec. 2020 The department is reminding residents that the region is under a stay-home order because of the global pandemic and to avoid large gatherings. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Police urge revelers not to fire off guns, fireworks to celebrate the holiday," 31 Dec. 2020 Meanwhile, Bourbon Street will be closed to cross traffic between Iberville and Dumaine streets from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., prompting the NOPD to advise that people just avoid the French Quarter altogether. Ramon Antonio Vargas | Staff Writer, NOLA.com, "NOPD urges people to not attend Christian rally planned for New Year's Eve at Jackson Square," 30 Dec. 2020 The Trump administration has hosted various events at the White House even as public health officials urged people to avoid such gatherings. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "Massachusetts GOP leader says he likely contracted coronavirus at a White House Hanukkah party," 30 Dec. 2020 And in Floyd County, where food pantries are reporting that demand has tripled over the past month, officials are trying to figure out how to avoid cuts to a program distributing food to families. New York Times, "Kentucky Is Hurting as Its Senators Limit or Oppose Federal Aid," 28 Dec. 2020 Through trial and error many people who regularly exercise have figured out how to avoid them. Olivia Muenter, Allure, "The Best Ways to Prevent (and Treat) Blisters," 27 Dec. 2020

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

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Time Traveler for avoid

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for avoid

Last Updated

19 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Avoid.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/avoid. Accessed 28 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for avoid


How to pronounce avoid (audio)

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 How to pronounce avoid (audio) \
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

History and Etymology for avoid

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

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