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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

For royal baby Archie’s birth in May, Markle deviated from the tradition of her sister-in-law Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge by choosing to keep the birth plans private, including the hospital. Raisa Bruner, Time, "Here's Why Meghan Markle's Approach to Royal Baby Archie's Christening Isn't So Surprising," 6 July 2019 But Prince William deviated from that rule Wednesday, to show his support for England's soccer team in the FIFA Women's World Cup. Emily Dixon, Marie Claire, "Prince William Shared a Rare Personal Tweet for the Women's World Cup," 28 June 2019 One-year correlation among stocks in the S&P 500, a measure of how much individual stocks deviate from the index, is around 0.41 compared with above 0.75 in 2013, according to Morgan Stanley and Bloomberg data. Pat Minczeski, WSJ, "Tweets, Trade and the Fed Now Have Markets Moving in Packs," 24 June 2019 Nartker, the report found, had exercised poor judgment in deviating from his initial plan and not properly arming the boat for the possibility of a hostile encounter. Megan Rose, ProPublica, "Trump Keeps Talking About the Last Military Standoff With Iran — Here’s What Really Happened," 24 June 2019 Street traffic was diverted and police officers dotted the route to make sure marchers didn’t deviate from the official circuit. Tripti Lahiri, Quartz, "Photos: Hong Kong has got its protest mojo back," 9 June 2019 Nothing about the Corsa deviates too much from Opel's existing designs, and that's okay. Daniel Golson, Car and Driver, "The Electric Opel Corsa-e Is Only for Europe, but We Love It Anyway," 23 May 2019 Once in this self-reinforcing, synchronous state, there’s no reason for the system to deviate. Quanta Magazine, "Scientists Discover Exotic New Patterns of Synchronization," 4 Apr. 2019 Hallgrimsson is unlikely to deviate too much from the side that faced Ghana, though Birkir Mar Saevarsson may return at right back. SI.com, "World Cup Preview: Argentina vs Iceland - Recent Form, Stats, Team News & More," 15 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about deviate

Statistics for deviate

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for deviate

The first known use of deviate was circa 1633

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up deviate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

an act or instance of editing or removing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!