1 of 3

verb (1)

veered; veering; veers

intransitive verb

: to change direction or course
the economy veered sharply downward
of the wind : to shift in a clockwise direction compare back entry 4 sense 2
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
veeringly adverb


2 of 3


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


3 of 3

verb (2)

veered; veering; veers

transitive verb

: to let out (something, such as a rope)
Choose the Right Synonym for veer

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
After finding the fairway on the final hole, Woods’ second shot veered dramatically to the right into the trees, traveling just 71 yards and leaving him a tricky 109-yard approach to the green. Ben Morse, CNN, 16 Feb. 2024 Last fall, a California jury found Tesla not liable for a 2019 Autopilot crash in which survivors said the car suddenly veered off the road. Talia Trackim, Washington Post, 13 Feb. 2024 War of the Roses (1989) An extra-dark comedy that veers toward sadism, the film is saved by the chemistry and star power of Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas (fresh off their Romancing the Stone series) with an assist from an excellent Danny DeVito. Debby Wolfinsohn,, 4 Feb. 2024 Until this deeply unfair situation gets sorted out, Maryland’s transportation policy will continue to veer off-course. Reader Commentary, Baltimore Sun, 2 Feb. 2024 Add in the febrile backdrop of a Britain veering from the Swinging Sixties to the Swingeing Seventies to the Eighties of Princess Diana and Margaret Thatcher (boo, hiss) and beyond. Mark Holgate, Vogue, 27 Jan. 2024 The Biden administration has maintained that the countries are strategic competitors, and that the meetings are crucial to ensuring that the rivalry does not veer into conflict. Olivia Wang, New York Times, 2 Feb. 2024 This Earl Grey–scented candle helps neutralize strong cooking smells, and notes of bergamot, black currant, and vanilla set a romantic mood without veering into cloyingly sweet territory. Anne Loreto Cruz, Bon Appétit, 1 Feb. 2024 But just as modesty seemed to be getting the upper hand, the bottom edge veered north and slyly arched over the cheeks – coy as a wink. Miami Staff, Miami Herald, 30 Jan. 2024
While inevitably some of these narratives veer into camp territory, bloodsucking couples, navigating various rituals and parameters, are often compelling metaphorical mirrors representative of desires or fantasies left unspoken. Nicholas Bell, SPIN, 14 Feb. 2024 Director Taylor Reynolds deftly calibrates the tonal counterpoint as the play veers through comedy, heartache and eeriness. Celia Wren, Washington Post, 12 Feb. 2024 Over the course of an album, that approach veers towards formula. David Browne, Rolling Stone, 30 Jan. 2024 That points to the conclusion that this case, and others like it, aim to exploit the veer to the right seen throughout the federal judiciary generally and the Supreme Court in particular. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 31 Jan. 2024 Her normally piano-centric, chamber-folk style veers toward electro-pop, using producer Cason Cooley’s library of digital instruments and beats. Sacramento Bee, 31 Jan. 2024 After a few minutes, hikers will reach an intersection but should remain on the trail that veers to the left, in a northwesterly direction. Maura Fox, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 Jan. 2024 The city is located at the point where the Volga veers east, as if attracted by the pull of the Urals. Elettra Pauletto, Harper's Magazine, 11 Dec. 2023 The puppy eyeliner look aims to widen and round eyes via a reversed wing that veers slightly down rather than up and away. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, 20 Nov. 2023
For a citrus perfume that veers more savory than sweet, this D.S. & Durga fragrance has found the sweet spot. Tatjana Freund, ELLE, 31 Mar. 2023 Think of post-punk scrubbed of all darkness, maybe even art: Trademark echoes were offset by a melodicism that veered on loungey, thrift fashion as bubblegum. Noah Shachtman, Rolling Stone, 18 Mar. 2023 On Monday, 28-year-old Minnesota cowboy J.D. Struxness was making his way on horseback across the stadium during a steer wrestling event when his horse tripped over a steer who veered too closely alongside them. Ariana Garcia, Chron, 17 Mar. 2023 She was fatally struck by a drunken driver who had veered into a safety lane blocked by cones. Dominic Fracassa, San Francisco Chronicle, 6 Mar. 2023 Due to its slim design and premium comfort, the Bose 700s are the exception to the rule of wanting to veer away from traditional headphone designs. John Thompson, Men's Health, 14 Feb. 2023 Super Bowl snacks tend to veer salty — best washed down with a cold beer. Times Insider Staff, New York Times, 10 Feb. 2023 Hence the content of the courses tends to veer towards teaching practices that turn graduates into dutiful employees of big firms pursuing short term goals. Steve Denning, Forbes, 25 Jan. 2023 To combat that, the Jones family decided to veer away from the conventional farming model. Quartz, 20 Jan. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'veer.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near veer

Cite this Entry

“Veer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


: to change direction or course
the highway veers inland at this point
veer noun

More from Merriam-Webster on veer

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!