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 Waugh, needing advice on how to navigate pregnancy but also wanting to keep the news a secret, has tried to ask her mother questions, but only in the hypothetical sense. Los Angeles Times, "Coronavirus Today: Cracks in our vaccine armor," 3 May 2021 Concerns over infections, lack of PPE and uncertainty over how to navigate the new virus all affected donors and recipients awaiting transplants at the beginning of the pandemic, UNOS said. Faith Karimi, CNN, "The pandemic disrupted organ transplants. But these three siblings aren't giving up," 29 Apr. 2021 The Igbo entrepreneurship model has demonstrated, time and again, how to navigate both ethnic and gender discrimination in mainstream society. Nnamdi Madichie, Quartz, "What Silicon Valley could learn from Nigeria’s Igbo entrepreneurs," 29 Apr. 2021 What would be nice for everybody is to have some more flexibility and self-determination—flexibility in how people interact with work, flexibility around how people choose to navigate their social lives. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, "What Introverts and Extroverts Want From Post-pandemic Life," 27 Apr. 2021 As a first-generation American, Mattaka figured out from a young age how to independently navigate an academic world with which her parents were unfamiliar. Washington Post, "Baltimore County teens start mentorship program," 25 Apr. 2021 And the Korean American church was a place where Korean Americans could speak Korean, find community and figure out how to navigate their new context. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Oscar nominee ‘Minari’ spotlights Korean American faith and the role of the church," 23 Apr. 2021 The guy was really in tune with himself spirituality, knew how to navigate life on a really special set of principles. Ed Masley, The Arizona Republic, "'This place is gonna be a little smaller without him': Remembering a Phoenix punk legend," 22 Apr. 2021 Here are three of the most important changes that have been measured in new statistics and some tips as to how to successfully navigate these major shifts in consumer behavior. Yec, Forbes, "How Businesses Can Respond To Three Big Changes In Consumer Behavior," 21 Apr. 2021

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

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Navigate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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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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Comments on navigate

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