verb (1)
\ ˈvir How to pronounce veer (audio) \
veered; veering; veers

Definition of veer

 (Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : to change direction or course the economy veered sharply downward
2 of the wind : to shift in a clockwise direction — compare back entry 4 sense 2
3 of a ship : to change course by turning the stern to the wind

transitive verb

: to direct to a different course specifically : wear sense 7



Definition of veer (Entry 2 of 3)

: a change in course or direction a veer to the right


verb (2)
veered; veering; veers

Definition of veer (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

: to let out (something, such as a rope)

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Other Words from veer

Verb (1)

veeringly \ ˈvir-​iŋ-​lē How to pronounce veeringly (audio) \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for veer

Verb (1)

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 veer in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And though an evening bob has the potential to veer into unwanted retro territory, Boynton’s dye-job and accompanying makeup ensured the moment was wholly modern. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "This Rising Actress Just Won Breakout Bob on the Golden Globes Red Carpet," 7 Jan. 2019 Possibilities seem to veer from UFOs to termites to, well, fairies. Stanley Stewart, Condé Nast Traveler, "Going Off-Grid in Namibia," 21 Dec. 2018 Of course, as with any habit, there’s a potential to veer into dangerous territory. Gina Way, Marie Claire, "Can Skincare Keep You Sane?," 4 Dec. 2018 The man was traveling without his headlights on when a witness noticed his car veer off the roadway, according to police reports. Hannah Leone, Aurora Beacon-News, "Police video shows witnesses saving man from burning car in Aurora," 4 Apr. 2018 Troopers are investigating what caused a car to veer off Lake Griffin Road Tuesday night, killing the driver and injuring the passenger. Gal Tziperman Lotan,, "Driver killed, passenger injured in Lake County crash," 23 May 2018 Authorities said veered off a curve and slammed into a Texas Department of Transportation pole. Shelby Webb, Houston Chronicle, "Woman killed after slamming into pole on Grand Parkway feeder road," 19 May 2018 Ever since northern neighbors Wisconsin and Minnesota veered off in opposite directions politically, a rhetorical border war has been fanned over the competing parties and policies that have guided them. Craig Gilbert, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Minnesota outpaces Wisconsin, report says, in latest volley over liberal vs. conservative policies," 8 May 2018 If the spacecraft veers off course too much, the moon's gravity will pull it back in line. Amy Thompson,, "What's Next for NASA's TESS Exoplanet Hunter?," 19 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The result means that some of the Dumped Wife's content is delightfully homemade, while other photography veers towards the type more common to professional social media presences. Bridget Read, Vogue, "Dumped Wife's Revenge Is the Instagram Account You Need in Your Life," 13 Aug. 2018 The performances from the older Crain children are wonderfully restrained, lending a sense of gravitas without letting the show veer too far into melodrama. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "Netflix’s Haunting of Hill House is like This Is Us wrapped in a gothic ghost story," 28 Sep. 2018 The city policy veers from state law in another notable way: the city won’t enforce donor disclosures on social media posts, emails and text communications. David Garrick,, "San Diego requiring greater transparency on campaign ad donors," 16 May 2018 Generally, those to the right of the political spectrum tend to be pro-capitalist; those on the left veer toward anti-capitalism. Kim Kelly, Teen Vogue, "What “Capitalism” Is and How It Affects People," 11 Apr. 2018 Even though Knudsen stuck to the run-heavy veer offense until the end, rather than turn to the spread passing game that so many schools recently have employed, the Eagles' offense moved the ball. Nick Daschel,, "Chris Knudsen retires as Centennial football coach after 32-year run," 9 Apr. 2018 Daisy loves earrings and veers towards more delicate pieces, while Mimi is into rings and goes for a stronger more Art Deco aesthetic. A-LIST, "Family Jewels," 24 Dec. 2017 USA TODAY Sports The wishbone led to the veer led to the flexbone led to Nebraska’s dynasty of the 1990s, and then the traditional option offense dropped off the map. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "Army-Navy: The triple option levels the playing field against competition," 8 Dec. 2017 Once Peters hit a few throws to create some space, Michigan hammered Rutgers with powers and counters and sprinkled in a bit of inverted veer for good measure. Nick Baumgardner, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan football stock watch: 3 up, 3 down after win vs. Rutgers," 29 Oct. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Possibilities seem to veer from UFOs to termites to, well, fairies. Stanley Stewart, Condé Nast Traveler, "Going Off-Grid in Namibia," 21 Dec. 2018 Harbour then shot himself in the head with a 9 mm handgun, causing his vehicle to veer out of control and crash into the median, officials said. Nicole Hensley,, "Georgia sniper idolized Parkland shooter in manifesto before wounding two in highway shooting," 6 May 2018 It was not immediately known what caused Ayd’s car to veer into traffic. Tim Prudente,, "Hampstead man killed when car veers into oncoming traffic near Westminster: Police," 5 May 2018 His Atlantic City casinos were veering toward another bankruptcy. Susanne Craig, The Seattle Times, "Trump engaged in suspect tax schemes as he reaped riches from father," 2 Oct. 2018 For a more refreshing, summery lunch, veer toward the shrimp and avocado salad, which came with sweet chunks of perfect yellow tomatoes, pickled red onions, lots of fresh greens and tender, sweet shrimp, plus a tart lime and paprika dressing. Kate Washington, sacbee, "It’s good to be back: Celestin’s revives its particular brand of gumbo and grace," 22 June 2018 Lively begins by exploring the garden’s place in art and literature (perhaps veering a tad too close now and then toward a book report) and then explores the changing fashions of gardening and what gardens may show about class distinctions. Stephanie Hanes, The Christian Science Monitor, "'Life in the Garden' lovingly recalls the place of gardens in an author's life," 14 June 2018 While extreme, experts say Beijing and Washington are veering toward more punitive measures. David Pierson,, "Facebook's tie-up with Chinese smartphone giant Huawei makes a bad situation worse," 6 June 2018 Erdogan has veered hard toward a version of Islamic nationalism that would have been unthinkable just years before., "Bloomberg," 18 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'veer.' 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 veer

Verb (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


circa 1611, in the meaning defined above

Verb (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for veer

Verb (1)

Middle English veren, probably altered from Anglo-French virer "to whirl, turn, revolve" (continental Old French, "to throw with a twisting motion"), going back to Vulgar Latin *vīrāre, reduced from Latin vibrāre "to wave, propel suddenly" — more at vibrate

Note: The vowel change (e in Middle English, i in French) is of unclear motivation. Cf. Old Scots wyr, wyre "to throw along a curving trajectory," vyre "to turn about a fixed point," apparently borrowed from Anglo-French virer with no alteration of vowel.


noun derivative of veer entry 1

Verb (2)

Middle English veren, borrowed from Middle Dutch *vieren or Middle Low German vīren, perhaps from a Frisian verbal derivative of Old Frisian fīr "far"; akin to Old English feorr far entry 1

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Learn More about veer

Dictionary Entries near veer

vee engine




veer away

veer off course


Statistics for veer

Last Updated

12 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for veer

The first known use of veer was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for veer


\ ˈvir How to pronounce veer (audio) \
veered; veering

Kids Definition of veer

: to change direction

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More from Merriam-Webster on veer

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with veer

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for veer

Spanish Central: Translation of veer

Nglish: Translation of veer for Spanish Speakers

Comments on veer

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


to affect and impair by alcohol or a drug

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