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

Investors see Modi as a relatively predictable pro-business leader dedicated to pushing through economic reforms -- even if those policies occasionally veer toward populist. Washington Post, "Your Guide to India’s Upcoming General Election," 18 Sep. 2019 After 30 years in California, my tastes have veered toward surfing and mountain biking. Marc Randolph, Quartz, "Netflix co-founder: Luck isn’t about chance—it’s about preparation," 11 Sep. 2019 Stay in games, because ya never know Despite their skill-position talent, the Sun Devils weren’t flashy, and — not a shock, given Edwards’ defensive background — veered toward the conservative. Sean Keeler, The Denver Post, "Why the CU Buffs can be to the Pac-12 South what Arizona State was in 2018," 24 Aug. 2019 No doubt plenty of eyes will be watching whether the spending continues in that direction — if the litigation is unsuccessful — or veers toward his mayoral campaign. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Bry, Gloria scrap over campaign finances, endorsement," 23 Aug. 2019 Rosen’s best pass during the drive came at the beginning of the fourth quarter, stepping into the pocket, veering toward the right side, and beaming a 39-yard pass to receiver Isaiah Ford that reached the 15-yard line. Safid Deen,, "Ryan Fitzpatrick struggles mightily vs. Jaguars, forcing Brian Flores to re-evaluate Dolphins’ starting quarterback job," 23 Aug. 2019 Anytime the discussion veered toward politics, someone would change the subject. Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, "Silicon Valley’s Crisis of Conscience," 19 Aug. 2019 As the two sides appeared to drift further from a deal, Japan and South Korea veered toward their own trade confrontation on Friday, injecting greater uncertainty into the region. New York Times, "Spiraling Trade Tensions Threaten Economy as Trump Pressures China," 2 Aug. 2019 As his 2018 interview with The Wall Street Journal makes clear, Chang is still a workaholic who’s constantly taking on new projects and veering dangerously toward burnout. Sarah Todd, Quartz at Work, "Going on vacation won’t cure your burnout," 9 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

De La Salle used its veer offense to roll up more than 200 first-half rushing yards. Mitch Stephens,, "St. Ignatius rebounds from loss to beat team from Washington state," 14 Sep. 2019 Midline and veer options are based on count system, Meyer instructed viewers. Marc Bona,, "Urban Meyer, college-football analyst: 7 things to know," 12 Sep. 2019 No, De La Salle has not abandoned the veer option offense that helped make the program famous. Darren Sabedra, The Mercury News, "Football: Takeaways from De La Salle’s loss to St. Thomas Aquinas," 24 Aug. 2019 The Spartans pride themselves on beating bigger squads with efficient line play, defense, their quick-hitting veer offense and versatile backfield. Mitch Stephens,, "De La Salle opens football season against nation’s best," 19 Aug. 2019 All are important while operating De La Salle’s storied veer-option attack. Darren Sabedra, The Mercury News, "The Fab Forty, No. 16: De La Salle QB takes on larger role," 7 Aug. 2019 But, and this takes a hypothetical veer, why would ESPN agree to divide the money up the same after losing one of the strongest basketball brands in the deal? Fletcher Page,, "Three questions: How UConn's move to the Big East affects Cincinnati Bearcats, AAC," 5 June 2019 Tony Awards to honor Broadway's best Last year’s Tony Award show saw Robert De Niro veer from his introduction of Bruce Springsteen and drop an F-bomb about President Donald Trump. Editors, USA TODAY, "Democrats in Iowa, Tony Awards, Stanley Cup Final: 5 things to know this weekend," 8 June 2019 But his paranoia is unmoored from the current political climate, which makes the film’s final veer back to Ed’s obsession seem all the more forced and hollow. Mark Jenkins,, "‘The Tomorrow Man’ review: John Lithgow plays a prepper readying for world’s end, yet hoping for romance," 4 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Black characters of this era, however tended to be secondary at best, and too often veered toward blaxploitation caricatures, living in the ghetto and speaking a version of jive as envisioned by their mostly white creators. Oliver Staley, Quartz, "Storm is comics’ overlooked groundbreaking superhero," 11 Sep. 2019 The series contains all the usual Ryan Murphyisms — snarky one-liners, a satirical sting, hot-button topics and a tone that veers from earnest to outrageous. Chuck Barney, The Mercury News, "Fall TV 2019: 10 new shows you’ll want to see," 13 Sep. 2019 If Oregon had been less-than-impressive in the second game of the season, the narrative for coach Mario Cristobal would have immediately veered off in a negative direction. John Canzano | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Canzano: 10 opinions on the Oregon Ducks’ victory over Nevada," 8 Sep. 2019 But when answers weren’t close at hand, O’Rourke veered off into platitudes and campaign trail themes. Katie Palmer, Quartz, "The most important takeaways from the Democrats’ climate town hall," 5 Sep. 2019 The victory is a triumph for 55-year-old Johnson, an ambitious but erratic politician whose political career has veered between periods in high office and spells on the sidelines. Jill Lawless,, "Boris Johnson wins race to become UK’s next prime minister," 23 July 2019 When a Turkish jet shot down a Russian jet that veered into Turkish airspace in November 2015, the event underscored the seeming distance between Russia and Turkey. New York Times, "Turkey’s Erdogan Goes His Own Way as Distrust With U.S. Grows," 16 July 2019 Taco Cabana Like Taco Bell, Taco Cabana is a greasy — but beloved — 24/7 Mexican chain that veers more toward Tex-Mex. Emma Keith, Detroit Free Press, "Zaxby's, Cookout: 4 restaurants you want to see in Michigan," 21 June 2019 At least 24 people, mostly children, died after a freight train veered off the rail in central Kasai province in March. Augusta Anthony And Karl Bostic, CNN, "At least 50 dead in train derailment in the Democratic Republic of Congo," 12 Sep. 2019

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

11 Oct 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).


a topic to which one constantly reverts

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