\ 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

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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

Cordero was a passenger in Smith’s Lamborghini when a tire blew out, causing their vehicle to swerve and hit a median on I-90 West in Cleveland, according to the Browns’ statement. Lindsay Kimble, PEOPLE.com, "Chris Smith Will Play with the Cleveland Browns on Monday, Nearly 1 Week After Girlfriend's Death," 16 Sep. 2019 All lanes of eastbound Interstate 580 in Oakland were closed Monday morning after a recreational vehicle overturned and caused a car to swerve and plunge down an embankment, according to the California Highway Patrol. Michael Cabanatuan, SFChronicle.com, "Overturned RV shuts down lanes of I-580 in Oakland," 5 Aug. 2019 It was learned that the driver of the bus from Chilhowee, James Davenport, was texting while driving, which caused him to swerve and led to the fatal crash. USA TODAY, "Leaping frogs, spiny lobsters, hostile roosters: News from around our 50 states," 26 July 2019 Police believe the car involved in the crash was traveling north in the left lane when another car merged ahead of them, causing the driver of their car to swerve and lose control. Abigail Feldman, BostonGlobe.com, "Three killed in rollover crash on I-89 in New London, N.H.," 21 July 2019 Highway 1 is windy, and drivers are prone to braking suddenly, swerving into open parking spaces and reversing into oncoming traffic. Gregory Thomas, SFChronicle.com, "One Day, One Place: Big Sur," 6 Sep. 2019 But first, Brexit! Prime Minister Boris Johnson has just swerved British politics into oncoming traffic. The Christian Science Monitor, "a changing vision of Western leadership," 28 Aug. 2019 Even more salt was rubbed into the Lecce wounds by Candreva, as the wing-back sent a 30-yard blast swerving into the top corner. SI.com, "Inter 4-0 Lecce: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Lukaku Scores on His Debut," 26 Aug. 2019 Authorities believe she was intoxicated at the time of the crash, and abruptly swerved into Garner’s car. Nate Gartrell, The Mercury News, "Crockett fatal crash suspect arrested, spent two months on the lam," 15 Aug. 2019

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

18 Oct 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 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

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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

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


a topic to which one constantly reverts

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