1 a : (of a ship) to deviate erratically from a course (as when struck by a heavy sea); especially : to move from side to side
b : (of an airplane, spacecraft, or projectile) to turn by angular motion about the vertical axis
2 : alternate
Did You Know?
In the heyday of large sailing ships, numerous nautical words appeared on the horizon, many of which have origins that have never been traced. Yaw is one such word. It began showing up in print in the 16th century, first as a noun (meaning "movement off course" or "side to side movement") and then as a verb. For more than 350 years it remained a sailing word, with occasional side trips to the figurative sense "to alternate." Then dawned the era of airplane flight in the early 20th century, and "yawing" was no longer confined to the sea. Nowadays, people who love boats still use yaw much as the sailors of old did, but pilots and astronauts also refer to the "yawing" of their crafts.
The ship yawed hard to starboard when the rogue wave hit it broadside.
"In 2002, contractors … explored the wreck using a remotely-operated submarine. They found ropes and lights from previous visits, and worked out how the big plane skipped and yawed across the water before sinking to the bottom." - Steve Weintz, Medium.com, February 1, 2015
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Test Your Vocabulary
What 3-letter verb beginning with "l" is used to express the action of a racehorse swerving from the course toward or away from the inside rail? The answer is …
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