\ 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


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



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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

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 The bus then continued into the eastbound lane, crossing all eastbound lanes and striking a guardrail on the shoulder before swerving to the right and falling into a ravine, the report says. Anna Beahm, AL.com, "ALEA, NTSB release report on Loxley bus crash," 1 May 2018 The boat heels suddenly while the crew lets out a ballooning spinnaker to catch even more wind as Team Brunel swerves to within a few meters of a competitor. Time, "Are You Tough Enough? This Round-the-World Race is Known as the 'Everest of Sailing'," 16 Feb. 2018 The total sum of his archive, housed in his former apartment in Frank Gehry’s swerve-y downtown building, has been estimated at $20 million. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "David Casavant Is More Than Just an Archivist—Peek Inside His Debut Book," 31 Oct. 2018 The car was also programmed to swerve a little to show that the wheel was moving on its own, according to The Sunday Times. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Robot racecars storm the most glamorous hill in motorsports," 3 Aug. 2018 This is the point in the teen flick where the two cars are rapidly approaching each other at full speed, waiting for the other to swerve off the road. Larry Stone, The Seattle Times, "Limbo dance: Seahawks can certainly do without dreaded drama of Earl Thomas holdout," 24 July 2018 The fire engine's driver tried unsuccessfully to swerve and avoid the collision, causing the engine to overturn. Stephen English, star-telegram, "Fort Worth fire engine knocked on its side in traffic accident, 4 firefighters injured," 11 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.

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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

25 Jan 2019

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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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

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excited commotion or publicity

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