nav·i·gate | \ ˈna-və-ˌgāt \
navigated; navigating

Definition of navigate 

intransitive verb

1 : to travel by water : sail navigated down to the mouth of the river

2 : to steer a course through a medium specifically : to operate an airplane navigate by instrument

3 : get around, move was well enough to navigate under his own power

transitive verb

1a : to sail over, on, or through able to navigate the deep ocean waters

b : to make one's way over or through : traverse navigate the Internet via hypertext links connecting information-rich computers around the world. —Stephanie Losee

2a : to steer or manage (a boat) in sailing

b : to operate or control the course of navigate an airplane

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Examples of navigate in a Sentence

For thousands of years, sailors navigated by the stars. How about if you drive and I navigate? I'd need a map to navigate the city. Only flat-bottomed boats can safely navigate the canal. He has learned to navigate in rough waters. The downtown area is easily navigated on foot. She has trouble navigating the stairs with her crutches. It took us 10 minutes to navigate through the parking lot to the exit. The captain navigated the ship. He has had experience navigating airplanes through storms.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Here’s a look at how to navigate the chaos to land the hottest deals and maximize your savings. Nicole Spector /, NBC News, "How to get the most out of Amazon Prime Day without overspending," 11 July 2018 Even minor things, such as learning to navigate around an American supermarket, became sources of stress. Jennifer Breheny Wallace, ajc, "Even casual ties to others can better your health," 10 July 2018 The course familiarizes people with the rules of the water, how to navigate, what the signs mean, when to go fast, and how to cross paths with certain boats. Emily Himes, miamiherald, "July is the deadliest month for boaters. Here's how to stay safe this week," 2 July 2018 In 2018, Harley sought my advice as someone who has helped him navigate the political and legal process before. Melissa Davlin, idahostatesman, "'Call (him) fake news,' Dem adviser told Harley Brown after threat to Boise radio host," 29 June 2018 Another technique Newbern passed on to the teens to help them navigate their youth was to find what validates them and never lose sight of that validation. Yadira Sanchez Olson, Lake County News-Sun, "Mentor tells Zion summer-work teens to control their destiny and 'watch out for those dream-snatchers'," 29 June 2018 Grant-writing requires specialized skills and knowledge about how to navigate a system. Ted Slowik, Daily Southtown, "Slowik: Educators seek to continue early-childhood services despite funding cut," 27 June 2018 In one, 50 participants learned how to navigate a virtual maze on a computer and then were asked to take a nap. Louise Matsakis, WIRED, "Do You Dream in Internet? Don’t Freak Out," 23 June 2018 West teaches other cyclists how to be safe navigating the urban environment. Sarah Gish, kansascity, "Will Kansas City ever be bike-friendly? The city is about to roll out a plan," 13 July 2018

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

1588, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for navigate

Latin navigatus, past participle of navigare, from navis ship + -igare (from agere to drive) — more at agent

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Statistics for navigate

Last Updated

20 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for navigate

The first known use of navigate was in 1588

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More Definitions for navigate



English Language Learners Definition of navigate

: to find the way to get to a place when you are traveling in a ship, airplane, car, etc.

: to sail on, over, or through an area of water

: to travel on, over, or through (an area or place)


nav·i·gate | \ ˈna-və-ˌgāt \
navigated; navigating

Kids Definition of navigate

1 : to travel by water Explorers navigated around the world.

2 : to sail or travel over, on, or through The crew navigated the river.

3 : to steer a course in a ship or aircraft

4 : to steer or direct the course of (as a boat)

5 : to find information on the Internet or a Web site

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Comments on navigate

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


the setting in which something occurs

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