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 As the vehicle’s tires began to deflate, the driver was unable to navigate the roundabout in the 10600 block of West Forest Home Avenue, leaving the roadway and coming to a stop on the property of Emanuel Church, 10627 W. Forest Home Ave. Bob Dohr, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A Milwaukee man was arrested after leading Greenfield cops on a chase, driving against traffic for miles, police say," 5 Mar. 2021 Not this year as schools navigate with coronavirus precautions. Matt Goul, cleveland, "How Gilmour earned a program-defining win: Five points for the OHSAA boys basketball tournament," 5 Mar. 2021 Firstly, how to navigate a journey of more than 13,000 kilometers back to the US for emergency trauma surgery. Don Riddell, CNN, "Surfer Billy Kemper says he glimpsed at death after a wave broke his pelvis in half," 4 Mar. 2021 Employees navigate the campus with the help of the company’s signature baby blue bikes. Los Angeles Times, "Near Facebook headquarters, a fire-prone homeless camp is dismantled, and springs back," 4 Mar. 2021 The skit hits close to home, as thousands of people struggle to navigate appointment systems that favor the computer literate with fast internet access, creating fundamental inequities for those who aren't tech-savvy. Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY, "'Vaccine angels' can only do so much: How can US make it easier to find COVID-19 vaccination appointment in minutes, not hours?," 2 Mar. 2021 While Oula patients can already book virtual appointments and access tailored content on the app, the physical clinic is there to help women coordinate pregnancy care and navigate key decisions before, during and after birth. Bérénice Magistretti, Forbes, "FemBeat: Oula Health Launches Its First Prenatal Clinic, Creating A Hybrid Model Of Care For Pregnant Women," 2 Mar. 2021 Not all patients who need the vaccine will successfully navigate through a local government portal or website, and show up to be vaccinated where and when requested. Emily Maxson, STAT, "Primary care practices could be the Biden administration’s secret weapon in the fight against Covid-19," 27 Feb. 2021 Gifted, or perhaps cursed, with a retractable phallus that seems capable of extending at least 20 times the length of his body, Dillermand must navigate life alongside his über-ostentatious junk, which at times has a mind of its own. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, "The Problem With This Kids’ Show Isn’t Just the Giant Penis," 26 Feb. 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

8 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Navigate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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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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