Synonym Chooser

How does the verb avoid contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of avoid are elude, escape, eschew, evade, and shun. While all these words mean "to get away or keep away from something," avoid stresses forethought and caution in keeping clear of danger or difficulty.

try to avoid past errors

When might elude be a better fit than avoid?

While the synonyms elude and avoid are close in meaning, elude implies a slippery or baffling quality in the person or thing that escapes.

what she sees in him eludes me

When is it sensible to use escape instead of avoid?

The words escape and avoid are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, escape stresses the fact of getting away or being passed by not necessarily through effort or by conscious intent.

nothing escapes her sharp eyes

In what contexts can eschew take the place of avoid?

The words eschew and avoid can be used in similar contexts, but eschew implies an avoiding or abstaining from as unwise or distasteful.

a playwright who eschews melodrama

When can evade be used instead of avoid?

In some situations, the words evade and avoid are roughly equivalent. However, evade implies adroitness, ingenuity, or lack of scruple in escaping or avoiding.

evaded the question by changing the subject

Where would shun be a reasonable alternative to avoid?

While in some cases nearly identical to avoid, shun often implies an avoiding as a matter of habitual practice or policy and may imply repugnance or abhorrence.

you have shunned your responsibilities

Thesaurus Entries Near avoid

Cite this Entry

“Avoid.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/avoid. Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

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