\ 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

When his swerving shot hit the net, Ronaldo stretched out his arms and tore away to the corner of the field, where an army of Portuguese fans went into a frenzy in the stands. Jonathan Clegg, WSJ, "Cristiano Ronaldo Ensures Spain’s Grand World Cup Experiment Gets Off to Rocky Start," 15 June 2018 Crazy how Set had to swerve and hit a tree cause a crackhead was in the middle of the road trying to get hit or kill himself, but God do unexplainable things! Karen Mizoguchi, PEOPLE.com, "Pregnant Cardi B Calls Fiancé Offset 'So Strong' Post-Accident as He Rubs Her Baby Bump in Bed," 21 May 2018 October 22, 2014 - A three-month old girl and an Ecuadorian tourist are killed when a driver swerves into a crowd at a light rail station in Jerusalem. Cnn Library, CNN, "Terrorist Attacks by Vehicle Fast Facts," 3 Feb. 2018 Don't swerve to avoid hitting a deer, which can cause your vehicle to flip and may confuse the deer where to run. Bruce Henderson, charlotteobserver, "Be wary of these NC natural wonders this summer," 25 June 2018 Cars whooshed past me; tour buses clumsily swerved into my lane. Donna Bulseco, WSJ, "The Great American Road Trip Goes Luxe—For Better or Worse," 12 July 2018 Dalton swerved in front of an ambulance to flag it down and helped transport the lady to the first responders' care. Atreya Verma, azcentral, "NBA Summer League auction to raise funds for Las Vegas shooting victims," 12 July 2018 Several cars swerved to avoid the man, who wasn’t walking in a crosswalk, said Sgt. Samantha Ketterer, Houston Chronicle, "Man fatally hit by car while crossing FM 1960," 11 July 2018 Sorry to Bother You’ sticks to its own script, but crucial to add that the script in question flips, swerves, meanders and all but explodes in a flurry of ideas and inspirations. Mark Olsen, latimes.com, "Indie Focus: Transformations in 'Sorry to Bother You,' 'Ant-Man and the Wasp' and 'Whitney'," 8 July 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

6 Sep 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).


alleviating pain or harshness

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