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


conn (also con), helm, pilot, steer

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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

Australian Barty navigated a dramatic three-set match against 17-year-old American Amanda Anisimova, eventually winning 6-7 6-3 6-3 on Court Suzanne-Lenglen. Ben Church, CNN, "Teenager Marketa Vondrousova to face Ashleigh Barty in French Open final," 7 June 2019 New call-ups must also navigate a complicated social hierarchy that sometimes catches them by surprise. Stephanie Apstein,, "The Perilous Life of Rookies in the Big Leagues," 6 June 2019 But beyond watching this case, the best mindset for navigating uncertain regulations is to consider how will things look after the fact? Polina Marinova, Fortune, "Term Sheet -- Wednesday, June 5," 5 June 2019 Sudanese men and a child headed to a mosque navigate a roadblock set by protesters on a main street in the Sudanese capital Khartoum to stop military vehicles from driving through the area on Wednesday, June 5, 2019. Fox News, "The Latest: Sudanese generals say they want to resume talks," 5 June 2019 For those who may question the safety of such a project, the company released a video showing one of the trucks navigating its way through a major storm without disengaging its self-driving system. Drew Dorian, Car and Driver, "U.S. Postal Service Testing Mail Transport in Self-Driving Semi Trucks," 24 May 2019 Many brave people have publicly shared stories about their experiences navigating mental health conditions. Carolyn Kylstra, SELF, "Mental Health Awareness Means Talking About All Types of Mental Illness," 29 Mar. 2019 This mouse is designed to fit comfortably in your hand and quickly respond to your touch, with thumb buttons and a scroll wheel to help navigate. Alexandria Haslam, PCWorld, "Upgrade your keyboard, mouse, and webcam for cheap in Amazon's Logitech blowout sale," 26 Sep. 2018 At a moment when art might help the narrator navigate toward emotional realization, Xi’s stiff, dead dogs don’t actually enlighten. Walton Muyumba,, "Detachment and dreaming in 'My Year of Rest and Relaxation' by Ottessa Moshfegh," 12 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

14 Jun 2019

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 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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More from Merriam-Webster on navigate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with navigate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for navigate

Spanish Central: Translation of navigate

Nglish: Translation of navigate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of navigate for Arabic Speakers

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).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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