\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from swerve

swerve noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for swerve


break, cut, sheer, veer, yaw, zag, zig



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

The Portugal forward saw his swerving shot parried by Andrea Consigli in the 23rd minute but Sami Khedira was on hand to fire in the rebound. Daniella Matar, The Seattle Times, "Juventus beats Sassuolo 3-0 to go 11 points clear in Serie A," 10 Feb. 2019 The Ford Fiesta carrying the Duluth residents swerved off the road after the collision and hit a tree, al.com reported. Steve Burns, ajc, "2 from Gwinnett killed, 2 injured in Alabama crash," 10 July 2018 Sunday’s result: Queen Shelly Ann was very unlucky, hitting the side of the gate, then swerving in with her jockey losing the left iron until near the 5/8ths mark. John Cherwa, latimes.com, "Racing! Happy Fourth of July," 4 July 2018 Loaded: 0% Progress: 0% 0:00 / 1:10 Watch this crazy road rage incident in West Texas Advertisement A semi swerves all over I-20 near Midland, Texas trying to pass what appears to be a Hummer which will not let the truck by. Jared Gilmour, miamiherald, "Driver honked at weaving motorcycle. His girlfriend got hit in the face with concrete, Ohio cops say," 19 June 2018 The first real chance for Houston came with a skidding 25th minute shot from Manotas that swerved wide. Houston Chronicle, "Mauro Manotas helps lead Dynamo past Minnesota," 18 June 2018 Witnesses say the car did not swerve or slow down before impact. Marco Della Cava, USA TODAY, "NHTSA looking into Tesla crash in Utah," 16 May 2018 Learning how an autonomous vehicle reacts in that situation could help develop one that can swerve away from that kid running into the street without losing control and hurting somebody else. Jack Stewart, WIRED, "Crash-Happy RC Cars Make Self-Driving Tech Smarter," 29 June 2018 The nonlinear, associative libretto by Yona Kim — who also directed the gripping staging, set in what seems to be a decaying 19th-century salon — swerves from Berlin to Moscow and from Paris to Riga. New York Times, "Hannah Arendt and Walter Benjamin Don’t Talk. They Sing.," 24 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about swerve

Dictionary Entries near swerve








Statistics for swerve

Last Updated

22 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for swerve

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on swerve

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with swerve

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for swerve

Spanish Central: Translation of swerve

Nglish: Translation of swerve for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of swerve for Arabic Speakers

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).


a servile follower or underling

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!