1

deviate

play
verb de·vi·ate \ ˈdē-vē-ˌāt \
Updated on: 11 Sep 2017

Definition of deviate

deviated; deviating
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

deviator

play \-ˌā-tər\ noun

deviatory

play \-ə-ˌtȯr-ē\ adjective

Examples of deviate in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples of deviate from the Web

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.

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.”)

Origin and Etymology of deviate

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

deviate Synonyms

Synonyms
detour, turn, diverge, sheer, swerve, swing, turn off, veer, wheel
Related Words
tack, zigzag; double (back), turn back

Synonym Discussion of deviate

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

2

deviate

play
noun de·vi·ate \ -vē-ət , -vē-ˌāt \

Definition of deviate

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 b) of another variable from a fixed value (such as the mean)

Examples of deviate in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples of deviate from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of deviate


3

deviate

play
adjective de·vi·ate \ -vē-ət , -vē-ˌāt \

Definition of deviate

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

Examples of deviate in a Sentence

  1. the mother's deviate response to her child's death aroused suspicions

Origin and Etymology of deviate


DEVIATE Defined for English Language Learners

deviate

play
verb

Definition of deviate for English Language Learners

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


DEVIATE Defined for Kids

deviate

play
verb de·vi·ate \ ˈdē-vē-ˌāt \

Definition of deviate for Students

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

Medical Dictionary

1

deviate

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

medical Definition of deviate

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

2

deviate

noun

medical Definition of deviate

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


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