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as in to turn
to change one's course or direction sailors forced to deviate from their course in order to avoid the storm

Synonyms & Similar Words

Synonym Chooser

How does the verb deviate contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of deviate are depart, digress, diverge, swerve, and veer. While all these words mean "to turn aside from a straight course," deviate implies a turning from a customary or prescribed course.

never deviated from her daily routine

When is it sensible to use depart instead of deviate?

Although the words depart and deviate have much in common, depart suggests a deviation from a traditional or conventional course or type.

occasionally departs from his own guidelines

When is digress a more appropriate choice than deviate?

While the synonyms digress and deviate are close in meaning, digress applies to a departing from the subject of one's discourse.

a professor prone to digress

How do diverge and depart relate to one another, in the sense of deviate?

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

When can swerve be used instead of deviate?

The words swerve and deviate are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, swerve may suggest a physical, mental, or moral turning away from a given course, often with abruptness.

swerved to avoid hitting the dog

When might veer be a better fit than deviate?

In some situations, the words veer and deviate are roughly equivalent. However, veer implies a major change in direction.

at that point the path veers to the right

Thesaurus Entries Near deviate

Cite this Entry

“Deviate.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

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