\ ˈswərv How to pronounce swerve (audio) \
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

Other Words from swerve

swerve noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for swerve



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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 The images occasionally swerve too bumpily from street-level naturalism to theatrical spectacle. New York Times, 8 Dec. 2021 All start-ups pivot and swerve in search of a sustainable path forward. New York Times, 8 Dec. 2021 The 71-year-old driver of the Dodge attempted to swerve out of the way but was unable to avoid the collision, reports said. Taylor Pettaway, San Antonio Express-News, 5 Oct. 2021 The sedan driver attempted to swerve back into the left lane but hit the man in the process, Montes said. Joe Mario Pedersen, orlandosentinel.com, 23 Sep. 2021 Do not swerve into oncoming traffic or off the road to avoid hitting a deer. Clifford Ward, chicagotribune.com, 14 Nov. 2021 Another woman also noticed the man in the road after the crash and tried to swerve out of the way, but was unable to. Evan Casey, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 13 Oct. 2021 Sometimes the hectic driver will switch lanes at the last moment and cause traffic in the adjoining lane to have to swerve. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 14 Oct. 2021 According to reports, a driver traveling eastbound on Laurel Road failed to yield at the West 130th Street intersection and caused a driver southbound on West 130th to swerve off the road and into a ditch, overturning their car in the process. Brian Lisik, cleveland, 17 Oct. 2021

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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Time Traveler for swerve

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

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Last Updated

9 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Swerve.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swerve. Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

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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 How to pronounce swerve (audio) \
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

More from Merriam-Webster on swerve

Nglish: Translation of swerve for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of swerve for Arabic Speakers


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