\ˈswərv \
swerved; swerving

Definition of swerve 

intransitive verb

: to turn aside abruptly from a straight line or course : deviate

transitive verb

: to cause to turn aside or deviate

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Other Words from swerve

swerve noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for swerve


arch, bend, bow, crook, curve, hook


straighten, unbend, uncurl

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Choose the Right Synonym for swerve

swerve, veer, deviate, depart, digress, diverge mean to turn aside from a straight course. swerve may suggest a physical, mental, or moral turning away from a given course, often with abruptness. swerved to avoid hitting the dog veer implies a major change in direction. at that point the path veers to the right deviate implies a turning from a customary or prescribed course. never deviated from her daily routine depart suggests a deviation from a traditional or conventional course or type. occasionally departs from his own guidelines digress applies to a departing from the subject of one's discourse. a professor prone to digress diverge may equal depart but usually suggests a branching of a main path into two or more leading in different directions. after school their paths diverged

Examples of swerve in a Sentence

He lost control of the car and swerved toward a tree. the car swerved sharply to avoid the squirrel in the road

Recent Examples on the Web

In March, a 39-year-old Los Angeles mother of six named Sharona Kaplan swerved to avoid a toddler who had run in front of her Bird on the beachside bike path in Santa Monica. Robin Abcarian, latimes.com, "Bird scooters — so much fun, so damn dangerous," 6 July 2018 Another driver swerved to avoid Larson's car, but Sabby's vehicle crashed into the back of Larson's Jeep. Bree Burkitt, azcentral, "Records: Tolleson man arrested for manslaughter was out on bail in friend's shooting," 11 June 2018 The driver of a southbound Chrysler swerved to miss Chandler's Jeep, but the rear of the Chrysler was damaged, the report says. Bob Gathany, AL.com, "Storm damage in Limestone County near Ardmore, Alabama," 20 Mar. 2018 Operating a vehicle under the influence, Smith Road: An Akron man, 57, was arrested at about midnight April 18 after police saw his pickup truck swerving on Smith. Bob Sandrick, cleveland.com, "Argument over refrigerator plug erupts into violence; counterfeit bills passed at Arby's: Brook Park police blotter," 27 Apr. 2018 By swerving back and forth, Davis dislodged it and escaped. Joseph P. Laycock, Smithsonian, "A Search for Mysteries and Monsters in Small Town America," 11 July 2018 The suspect, described a 30- to 40 year-old white man with a medium build and a receding hairline driving a white Ford Explorer, swerved out of his lane and then abruptly back in, CHP said. Claire Morgan, sacbee, "Hit-and-run driver sought after Highway 65 crash in Roseville, CHP says," 3 July 2018 Her car was spotted swerving back and forth near the W18700 block of Apollo Drive, Muskego police said. Jane Ford-stewart, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Car bouncing off curb at 50 mph, driver stopped in Muskego for 3rd offense drunken driving," 18 Apr. 2018 The bus appeared poised to head into oncoming traffic, then swerved back on the road, the back door still swinging wildly back and forth on the hinges. Keri Blakinger, Houston Chronicle, "Stolen school bus in Fort Bend sparks wild police chase featured on A&E show," 8 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'swerve.' 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 swerve

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for swerve

Middle English, from Old English sweorfan to wipe, file away; akin to Old High German swerban to wipe off, Welsh chwerfu to whirl

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Statistics for swerve

Last Updated

15 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for swerve

The first known use of swerve was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for swerve



English Language Learners Definition of swerve

: to change direction suddenly especially to avoid hitting someone or something


\ˈswərv \
swerved; swerving

Kids Definition of swerve

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to turn aside suddenly from a straight line or course The van swerved to avoid an oncoming car.



Kids Definition of swerve (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act or instance of turning aside suddenly

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Comments on swerve

What made you want to look up swerve? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


full of whispering sounds

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