nav·​i·​gate | \ ˈna-və-ˌgāt How to pronounce navigate (audio) \
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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Synonyms for navigate


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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 So the employee is in the deeply unfair position of having to navigate both a faux family relationship and a job where basic labor rights can be granted or withdrawn on the whim of an unreliable manager. Sarah Todd, Quartz at Work, "“Parasite” nails the inherent inequality of hiring household help," 20 Dec. 2019 But for some, navigating the nuances is still a challenge. Hannah Sampson, Houston Chronicle, "The demise of formal nights on cruises: How dress codes are tearing passengers apart," 20 Dec. 2019 But while the magnitude of the task has little precedent, this is not the first time that Mr. Calhoun, who has longstanding ties to the aviation industry, has had to navigate a period of corporate turmoil. David Yaffe-bellany, New York Times, "Boeing Taps David Calhoun as C.E.O. to Stem 737 Max Crisis," 23 Dec. 2019 The new film, directed by J.J. Abrams, had to navigate tricky waters, pleasing legions of Star Wars fans while also delivering a conclusion to the current trilogy of pictures. Fortune, "Newest Star Wars Film Produces Another Box Office Hit for Disney," 23 Dec. 2019 Tavares, known as a hard-nosed cost-cutter, will also have to navigate the political crosscurrents in France, Italy and the U.S., where the automakers have deep national roots. Tommaso Ebhardt, Time, "Fiat Chrysler and France's Peugeot Agree to $46 Billion Merger, Creating World's 4th Largest Carmaker," 18 Dec. 2019 Finley noted the rain and snow voters had to navigate getting to the polls. Lee Roop |, al, "Huntsville voters back public schools with property tax vote," 11 Dec. 2019 Tisherman had to navigate training his colleagues on an experimental and dramatic technique while trying to get official institutional permission to study it at all. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Doctors Place Humans in True Suspended Animation for First Time," 20 Nov. 2019 Children’s advocacy centers combine and coordinate all the many components of the medical and criminal justice system to ensure children don’t have to navigate them on their own. oregonlive, "Oregon advocate concerned and heartened by rising child sexual abuse ER visits," 7 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for navigate

Time Traveler

The first known use of navigate was in 1588

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Statistics for navigate

Last Updated

11 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Navigate.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 20 January 2020.

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More Definitions for navigate


How to pronounce navigate (audio)

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 How to pronounce navigate (audio) \
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).


not to be intimidated or subdued

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