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

Disney is organizing seminars monthly or so for young cast members to have the chance to bond and communicate anything that’s difficult about navigating social media. Sydney Bucksbaum,, "Exclusive: Alyson Stoner tells all about her 'surreal and special' VMAs reunion with Missy Elliott," 9 Sep. 2019 Neither Lassiter nor his consulting firm, HealthTech Solutions of Frankfort, had any experience in telecommunications or in navigating the FCC's complex program rules. Alfred Miller, ProPublica, "How Kentucky Gambled for Hundreds of Millions of Dollars From a Broadband Program It Didn’t Qualify for," 4 Sep. 2019 The city of Cleveland offers this series of tips and reminders for navigating game traffic and getting to the stadium. Robert Higgs,, "Tips for tackling traffic snarls, parking restrictions and tailgating for Cleveland Browns’ game with Detroit," 29 Aug. 2019 And don't forget to brainstorm ideas for navigating obstacles that may arise. Madeleine Burry, Good Housekeeping, "7 Self-Help Strategies For When You're Overwhelmed, According to Psychologists," 29 Aug. 2019 And next year, Silversea—known for navigating some of the most remote regions while staffed with both private butlers and resident scientists—is launching an all-suite ship, the Silver Origin, to the Galápagos. Alex Postman, Condé Nast Traveler, "How Sustainable Design Is Changing Hotels, Cruises, and Even Safaris," 23 Aug. 2019 Russia and Norway have been the most active Arctic nations, spending billions over the past decade on natural gas and oil infrastructure, deep-water ports, and ships capable of navigating the Arctic Ocean’s still-icy waters. Neil Shea, National Geographic, "A thawing Arctic is heating up a new Cold War," 21 Aug. 2019 Everybody knows the difficulties of navigating the Championship., "Teemu Pukki: Why His Early Season Form Is No Flash in the Pan," 19 Aug. 2019 In the form of stories. The debut episode features a woman named Lucy Kalanithi who talks about navigating life with her young daughter after the death of her husband. Collier Meyerson, WIRED, "Anxiously Seeking the Perfect Anti-Anxiety App," 16 Aug. 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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Statistics for navigate

Last Updated

4 Oct 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).


a topic to which one constantly reverts

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