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 With 41% of workers feeling burned out as a result of the pandemic, these resources can help employees navigate these incredibly challenging times through additional psychological services. Johnny C. Taylor Jr., USA TODAY, "How can organizations offer health and wellness benefits in 2021? Ask HR," 12 Jan. 2021 The longtime China investor also bought Inc. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. , believing China would navigate through Covid-19 better than the U.S. and Europe because of its political system and experience with past viruses. Juliet Chung, WSJ, "Covid-19 Caused Chaos for Investors in 2020. These Hedge Funds Earned Billions.," 25 Dec. 2020 With the maps sent to specific POW camps, there were likely regional variations, such as the Colditz Castle version helping soldiers navigate through Saxony. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, "In 1944, U.S. POWs Got the Best X-Mas Gift of All—An Escape Map," 24 Dec. 2020 The mint-green vehicle, which the company says will one day be used on a ride-hail network in cities like Las Vegas and San Francisco, is capable of driving bidirectionally and has a tight turning radius—better to navigate through busy city streets. Aarian Marshall, Wired, "Why Do Many Self-Driving Cars Look Like Toasters on Wheels?," 15 Dec. 2020 Emily is stuck in an alternate dimension and must find a way to navigate through it without the right SIM card. Jiji Lee, The New Yorker, "“Emily in Paris” Season 2, Directed by David Lynch," 10 Dec. 2020 Spoelstra commended head athletic trainer Jay Sabol for helping the team navigate through the league’s COVID-19 protocols for the season, which is detailed in a 100-plus page health and safety document. Khobi Price,, "Heat look to pick up where they left off as Miami begins full-group practices," 6 Dec. 2020 Companies will have to navigate through these new issues as this is unchartered territory. Phillip Molnar, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Given vaccine news, will companies call back workers sooner?," 4 Dec. 2020 D'Antoni will certainly help Nash navigate through this first season that brings more than just on-court challenges of putting this team together in a short time frame. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, "Brooklyn's finest: Steve Nash, Kevin Durant having championship aspirations amid unknowns," 3 Dec. 2020

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

19 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Navigate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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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

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