deviate

verb
de·​vi·​ate | \ˈdē-vē-ˌāt \
deviated; deviating

Definition of deviate 

(Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : to stray especially from a standard, principle, or topic deviating from the subject

2 : to depart from an established course or norm a flight forced by weather to deviate south rarely deviates from his usual routine behaviors that deviate from the norm

transitive verb

: to cause to turn out of a previous course he would deviate rivers, turn the scorched plains … into fertile pastures— F. M. Godfrey

deviate

noun
de·​vi·​ate | \-vē-ət, -vē-ˌāt\

Definition of deviate (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : one that deviates from a norm especially : a person who differs markedly from a group norm

2 mathematics : a statistical variable that gives the deviation (see deviation sense b) of another variable from a fixed value (such as the mean)

deviate

adjective
de·​vi·​ate | \-vē-ət, -vē-ˌāt\

Definition of deviate (Entry 3 of 3)

: departing significantly from the behavioral norms (see norm sense 2) of a particular society deviate behavior

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Other Words from deviate

Verb

deviator \ -​ˌā-​tər \ noun
deviatory \ -​ə-​ˌtȯr-​ē \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for deviate

Verb

swerve, veer, deviate, depart, digress, diverge mean to turn aside from a straight course. swerve may suggest a physical, mental, or moral turning away from a given course, often with abruptness. swerved to avoid hitting the dog veer implies a major change in direction. at that point the path veers to the right deviate implies a turning from a customary or prescribed course. never deviated from her daily routine depart suggests a deviation from a traditional or conventional course or type. occasionally departs from his own guidelines digress applies to a departing from the subject of one's discourse. a professor prone to digress diverge may equal depart but usually suggests a branching of a main path into two or more leading in different directions. after school their paths diverged

Deviant & Deviate

Deviant and deviate share a common root (the Latin deviare “to wander off the road, swerve, deviate”) and have some similarities in meaning, but they differ in notable ways. Deviant has functioned in English as an adjective (since the 15th century) and as a noun (since the early 20th century), in each case with a sense that suggests a straying from an accepted norm or from what is considered standard behavior. In contrast to deviant’s socially prescriptive connotations, the verb deviate often implies a less judgmental sense of swerving from the usual way (as in “he never deviated from his routine of drinking coffee with breakfast.”)

Examples of deviate in a Sentence

Verb

sailors forced to deviate from their course in order to avoid the storm

Noun

a sleazy bar that seemed to be an informal clubhouse for deviates

Adjective

the mother's deviate response to her child's death aroused suspicions
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The theme song has changed a number of times over the course of Outlander's four seasons But don't expect the melody to ever completely deviate from the original. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "The Outlander Theme Song Gets an American Makeover," 7 Oct. 2018 If a cow deviates from its normal food or water intake, for instance, farmers can have an alert sent to their phones, encouraging them to put out more food or assess the animal’s health. Jesse Newman, WSJ, "Six Technologies That Could Shake the Food World," 2 Oct. 2018 So Google isn’t deviating from its three-color approach. Chris Welch, The Verge, "Google reveals Pixel 3 colors: mint, white, and black," 14 Sep. 2018 And unlike in previous years, there’s no indication that market turbulence will cause central bankers to deviate from their path. Fortune, "The Yield Curve Is Flatter! Remind Me Why I Care," 26 June 2018 If the track deviates, the Washington region would either receive more rain or no precipitation at all. Jason Samenow, Washington Post, "Wet spring snow is possible Saturday in Washington region," 3 Apr. 2018 These short-term plans can go further than other coverage in deviating from ACA insurance protections, charging more to people with preexisting medical conditions or refusing to sell them insurance. Amy Goldstein, Washington Post, "States act on their own to fill holes Washington is knocking in Affordable Care Act," 1 July 2018 Leone said Revel deviated from casino industry best practices in many important ways, including meager or non-existent comps and discount offers. Washington Post, "Ocean Resort Casino, formerly Revel, gets casino license," 22 June 2018 Costner recounts how his movie deviated from the Michael Blake novel that inspired it, with the officer’s harrowing end, and the two directors pore over details of the stand-out moment. Chris Barton, latimes.com, "Taylor Sheridan and Kevin Costner examine another dark side of America in 'Yellowstone'," 20 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Thomas faces preliminary charges of rape with deadly force, rape with deadly weapon, and criminal deviate conduct, IMPD said. Vic Ryckaert, Indianapolis Star, "Wisconsin man arrested in connection with 1998 rape of Indianapolis woman," 22 Jan. 2018 He was convicted on three counts: rape, criminal deviate conduct and robbery. CBS News, "Guilty until Proven Innocent," 9 Dec. 2017 But the areas of common ground make clear the extent to which President Trump’s views on the government’s role in health care deviate from those of respected voices on both the left and the right. Amy Goldstein, Washington Post, "Bipartisan health policy coalition urges Congress to strengthen the ACA," 9 Aug. 2017 After submitting a plea agreement, Riley was sentenced to seven years for involuntary manslaughter and 31 years for criminal deviate conduct. Ruth Ann Krause, Post-Tribune, "Gary man sentenced to 91 years in woman's shooting death," 11 July 2017 Riley was convicted in 1997 of involuntary manslaughter and criminal deviate conduct involving a 10-month-old child. Ruth Ann Krause, Post-Tribune, "Prosecutor: Riley's story doesn't add up," 5 June 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Aggravating circumstances: Rape/criminal deviate conduct, on probation or parole, mutilation/torture. Tim Evans, Indianapolis Star, "Indiana death row holds 11 prisoners," 31 Jan. 2014

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'deviate.' 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 deviate

Verb

circa 1633, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Noun

1912, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1929, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for deviate

Verb

Late Latin deviatus, past participle of deviare, from Latin de- + via way — more at way

Noun

see deviate entry 1

Adjective

see deviate entry 1

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Statistics for deviate

Last Updated

16 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for deviate

The first known use of deviate was circa 1633

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More Definitions for deviate

deviate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of deviate

: to do something that is different or to be different from what is usual or expected

deviate

verb
de·​vi·​ate | \ˈdē-vē-ˌāt \
deviated; deviating

Kids Definition of deviate

: to follow a course, principle, standard, or topic that is different from usual He never deviates from his daily routine.

deviate

adjective
de·​vi·​ate | \ˈdē-vē-ət, -vē-ˌāt \

Medical Definition of deviate 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: characterized by or given to significant departure from the behavioral norms of a particular society

deviate

noun

Medical Definition of deviate (Entry 2 of 2)

: one that deviates from a norm especially : a person who differs markedly from a group norm

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Comments on deviate

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