deviate

verb
de·​vi·​ate | \ ˈdē-vē-ˌāt How to pronounce deviate (audio) \
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 | \ ˈdē-vē-ət How to pronounce deviate (audio) , -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 | \ ˈdē-vē-ət How to pronounce deviate (audio) , -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 \ ˈdē-​vē-​ˌā-​tər How to pronounce deviate (audio) \ noun
deviatory \ ˈdē-​vē-​ə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce deviate (audio) \ 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 Former offensive lineman Kyle Long wondered whether the Bears might deviate from their longstanding policy of not making midseason coaching changes. Chicago Tribune Staff, chicagotribune.com, "‘Everyone deserves better than this!’ Former and current Chicago Bears sound off on Twitter after the 34-30 loss to the Detroit Lions.," 6 Dec. 2020 As the woman who helped make Ashley Graham a household name, White knows the hurdles faced by models whose bodies deviate from the industry norm. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Role Model: How Paloma Elsesser Is Changing Fashion for the Better," 14 Dec. 2020 One is autonomy, or a willingness to deviate from the norm and choose one’s own path, despite what others think. Quartz Staff, Quartz, "What cool means today," 22 Nov. 2020 But Desmond’s proposal to deviate from the state’s proscriptive approach to fighting the pandemic died without a second from his colleagues. Paul Sisson, San Diego Union-Tribune, "County board hears business complaints but declines to defy state COVID restrictions," 17 Nov. 2020 Carlson was careful not to deviate too far from the party line, opening his show with deference to the fraud claims presented by Rudy Giuliani. Oliver Darcy, CNN, "Tucker Carlson backlash tells us something important about some Trump supporters," 21 Nov. 2020 The 8000 Series is not expected to deviate much from the 7000 Series except for the addition of real-time digital maps, digital advertising signs and power outlets for riders’ mobile devices. Washington Post, "Metro selects Hitachi Rail to build its next-generation rail car," 6 Oct. 2020 Preckwinkle wasn’t the only speaker to deviate from the subject. Rick Pearson, chicagotribune.com, "Graduated-rate tax amendment rally gets sidetracked by Toni Preckwinkle pitch for Kim Foxx’s reelection," 30 Oct. 2020 Inspired in part by Erik Satie, Mompou composed works for this series that rarely deviate from a reflective mood. New York Times, "7 Things to Do This Weekend," 22 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Any designs that deviate will have to go through additional hurdles to get approved. Anne Quito, Quartz, "Trump’s last gasp of authoritarianism tries to make US federal buildings classically “beautiful”," 24 Dec. 2020 He was convicted on three counts: rape, criminal deviate conduct and robbery. CBS News, "Guilty until Proven Innocent," 9 Dec. 2020 Manager Dave Roberts — despite criticism — didn’t deviate from giving Báez the ball in important situations. Jorge Castillo Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Worthy of a three-year deal? Why Pedro Báez might end up leaving Dodgers," 18 Nov. 2020 Even on the first day his teenage years officially ended, Maxey didn’t deviate from this routine. Christian Clark, NOLA.com, "Kentucky guard Tyrese Maxey, a crafty scorer and tenacious defender, says he worked out for Pelicans," 12 Nov. 2020 Proposition N, a citizens’ initiative that would allow voters to weigh in on developments that deviate from the city’s General Plan, looked to be passing with voters in early returns. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Santee Mayor John Minto leads in bid for re-election," 3 Nov. 2020 But the philosophy of the Living Constitution affords unelected Justices the ability to offer interpretations of Constitutional or statutory law that deviate from its text and original meaning. Tod Worner, National Review, "A Dangerous Imbalance: Restoring Order to a Republic in Crisis," 25 Oct. 2020 If passed, Proposition N would allow residents to vote on developments that deviate from the city’s legally allowed plans in density or zoning. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Group collecting signatures to reverse Santee City Council decision on Fanita Ranch," 8 Oct. 2020 If passed by voters, Proposition N would allow residents to vote on developments that deviate from the city’s legally allowed plans. Karen Pearlman, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Fanita Ranch housing development gets green light in Santee," 24 Sep. 2020 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, Noun, and Adjective

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

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Time Traveler for deviate

Time Traveler

The first known use of deviate was circa 1633

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Statistics for deviate

Last Updated

10 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Deviate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/deviate. Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for deviate

deviate

verb
How to pronounce deviate (audio)

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 How to pronounce deviate (audio) \
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 How to pronounce deviate (audio) , -vē-ˌāt How to pronounce deviate (audio) \

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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