swerve


swerve
swerve, veer, deviate, depart, digress, diverge mean to turn aside from a straight line or a defined course.
Swerve may refer to a turning aside, usually somewhat abruptly, by a person or material thing
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at that point the road swerves to the left

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the great roots of a tree swerve upward out of the design— Binyon

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or it may suggest a mental, moral, or spiritual turning aside
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had never swerved from what she conceived to be her duty— A. J. Kennedy

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if I be false, or swerve a hair from truth— Shak.

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our affections and passions put frequently a bias ... so strong on our judgments as to make them swerve from the direction of right reason— Bolingbroke

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Veer is frequently used in reference to a change in the course of a wind or of a ship; often it suggests either a frequent turning this way or that or a series of turnings in the same direction, especially of the wind in a clockwise direction
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the wind veered to the east

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[the ship] plunged and tacked and veeredColeridge

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the wind had veered round, and the Aurora was now able to lay up clear of the island of Maritimo— Marryat

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In extended use the term commonly implies a change or series of changes of direction or course under an external influence comparable to the wind
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his thought, veering and tacking as the winds blew— Parrington

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or a turning aside for a tactical reason (as to avoid an undue influence)
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the plan has worked. . . .the state . . . has not only veered away from bankruptcy; it has also improved its services— Armbrister

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Deviate implies a turning aside from a customary, chosen, allotted, or prescribed course
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finding it no easy matter to make my way without constantly deviating to this side or that from the course I wished to keep— Hudson

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It is commonly used in reference to persons, or their minds, their morals, and their actions, with the suggestion of a swerving from a norm or standard or from a right or lawful procedure or course
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when the aesthetic sense deviates from its proper ends to burden itself with moral intentions . . . it ceases to realize morality— Ellis

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had told him the story many times and ... never deviated in the telling— Costain

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from a fundamental sincerity he could not deviate— T. S. Eliot

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The next three words of this group usually imply a turning aside from a literal or figurative way (as a path, course, track, or standard) which still continues.
Depart stresses the turning away from and leaving an old path, a customary course, or an accepted type or standard; it may further imply a forsaking of the antiquated, con-ventional, or traditional
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[books] which depart widely from the usual typeGrand gent

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or a deviation from what is right, true, or normal
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forced by circumstance to depart from the principles of his own logic— W. P. Webb

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Digress commonly implies a departure from the subject of one's discourse that may be voluntary and made with the intent to return
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let me digress for a few minutes to indicate the possible results of this condition

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or involuntary and the result of an inability to think coherently or to stick to the point to be developed
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I shall not pursue these points further for fear of digressing too far from my main themeS pi Is bury

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Diverge is sometimes used in the sense of depart
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let them [professors] diverge in the slightest from what is the current official doctrine, and they are turned out of their chairs— Mencken

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but more typically it suggests a separation of a main, old, or original course or path into two or more courses or paths that lead away from each other
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they proceeded along the road together till . . . their paths divergedHardy

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two roads diverging like the branches of a Y— Belloc

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Analogous words: *turn, divert, deflect, sheer, avert: *curve, bend

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Swerve — Swerve, v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Swerved}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Swerving}.] [OE. swerven, AS. sweorfan to wipe off, to file, to polish; akin to OFries. swerva to creep, D. zwerven to swerve, to rope, OS. swerban to wipe off, MHG. swerben to be whirled,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • swerve — [swə:v US swə:rv] v [: Old English; Origin: sweorfan [i] to wipe, put away ] 1.) to make a sudden sideways movement while moving forwards, usually in order to avoid hitting something swerve violently/sharply ▪ The car swerved sharply to avoid the …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • swerve — [ swɜrv ] verb intransitive or transitive if something such as a vehicle swerves, or you swerve it, it changes direction suddenly in order to avoid someone or something: He swerved suddenly, narrowly missing a cyclist. ╾ swerve noun count …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Swerve — Swerve, v. t. To turn aside. Gauden. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • swerve — swerve·less; swerve; …   English syllables

  • swerve — index depart, detour, deviate, deviation, digress, digression, divert, indirection (indirect action), oscillate …   Law dictionary

  • swerve — [v] turn aside, often to avoid collision bend, deflect, depart, depart from, deviate, dip, diverge, err, get off course, go off course, incline, lurch, move, sheer, sheer off, shift, sideslip, sidestep, skew, skid, slue, stray, swing, tack, train …   New thesaurus

  • swerve — ► VERB ▪ abruptly diverge from a straight course. ► NOUN ▪ an abrupt change of course. ORIGIN Old English, «leave, turn aside» …   English terms dictionary

  • swerve — [swʉrv] vi., vt. swerved, swerving [ME swerven < OE sweorfan, to file away, scour < IE base * swerbh , to turn, wipe, sweep > Gr syrphetos, sweepings, litter] to turn aside or cause to turn aside sharply or suddenly from a straight line …   English World dictionary

  • swerve — v. (D; intr.) to swerve from; to (to swerve from a course; to swerve to the right) * * * [swɜːv] to (to swerve from a course; to swerve to the right) (D; intr.) to swerve from …   Combinatory dictionary