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 deviator (audio) \ noun
deviatory \ ˈdē-​vē-​ə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce deviatory (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

Other countries are deviating from the model of liberal democracy—based on checks and balances and the rule of law—which the EU was supposed to help promote. Marcus Walker, WSJ, "EU Countries Face a Menu of Challenges," 20 Jan. 2019 But because the rings have some gravitational pull, Cassini deviated a bit from that path, and scientists can work backwards from that to figure out the mass of the rings. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Saturn's Rings Are Much Younger Than You Might Think," 18 Jan. 2019 But when James deviated from the script by pairing shorts with his jacket in the Finals, Cleveland was swept by Golden State. Jamie Lisanti, SI.com, "Fashionable 50," 10 July 2018 Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh subscribes to the Pete Carroll/Gus Bradley/Dan Quinn Cover 3 system, but what differentiates Saleh is his willingness to deviate from it. Andy Benoit, SI.com, "Jimmy Garoppolo Takes Charge, Richard Sherman Steps In: 10 Thoughts on the 49ers," 18 June 2018 The focus on Murkowski and Collins is unsurprising: both are moderate Republicans with a record of deviating from their party’s line, particularly on social issues. Nash Jenkins, Time, "Democrats Are Trying to Convince Collins and Murkowski That Supporting President Trump's Supreme Court Pick Will Doom Roe v. Wade," 5 July 2018 Today's sale doesn't deviate much from the usual formula: the coupon code is effective until 1:00am ET, can only be used once, only applies to items $25 or greater, and can only take a maximum of $100 off. Ars Staff, Ars Technica, "Dealmaster: Get a pair of Apple AirPods for $136," 28 Aug. 2018 Barbera refused to explain why Epstein was seemingly allowed to deviate from the agency’s policies. Julie K. Brown, The Seattle Times, "Perversion of Justice: Even from jail, sex abuser manipulated the system. His victims were kept in the dark," 4 Dec. 2018 The researchers found that these new creatures deviated from other life about a billion years ago, back when there were only a few multicellular life forms. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Discover a Whole New Kingdom of Life," 19 Nov. 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, Noun, and Adjective

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

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Statistics for deviate

Last Updated

23 Mar 2019

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 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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More from Merriam-Webster on deviate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with deviate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for deviate

Spanish Central: Translation of deviate

Nglish: Translation of deviate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of deviate for Arabic Speakers

Comments on deviate

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