• IPA: /əˈvɔɪd/

avoid (avoids, present participle avoiding; past and past participle avoided)

  1. (transitive) to try not to meet or communicate with (a person); to shun
  2. to keep away from; to keep clear of; to stay away from
    I try to avoid the company of gamblers.
    • 1637, John Milton, Comus (Milton), London: Humphrey Robinson, p. 13,
      What need a man forestall his date of griefe
      And run to meet what he would most avoid?
    • 1848, Thomas Babington Macaulay, The History of England from the Accession of James the Second, Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, Volume 3, Chapter 13, p. 309,
      He still hoped that he might be able to win some chiefs who remained neutral; and he carefully avoided every act which could goad them into open hostility.
  3. To try not to do something or to have something happen
    • 1953, James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain (novel), New York: Laurel, 1985, Part One, p. 20,
      Then he realized, by the immobility of the other children and by the way they avoided looking at him, that it was he who was selected for punishment.
  4. (transitive, obsolete) To make empty; to clear.
    • circa 1395, Wycliffe's Bible, Ecclesiasticus 13:6 ↗:
      If thou haue, he shal lyue with thee, and auoide thee out ; and he shal not sorewen vpon thee.
  5. (transitive, now legal) To make void, to annul; to refute (especially a contract).
    • 1395, Wycliffe's Bible, Epistle to the Galatians 3:17,
      But Y seie, this testament is confermed of God; the lawe that was maad after foure hundrid and thritti yeer, makith not the testament veyn to auoide awei the biheest.
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, A View of the State of Ireland, Dublin: John Morrisson, 1809, reprint of the 1633 edition, p. 233,
      […] how can those graunts of the Kings be avoyded, without wronging of those lords, which had those lands and lordships given them?
  6. (transitive, legal) To defeat or evade; to invalidate.
    • 1769, William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, Dublin: John Exshaw et al., 4th edition, 1771, Volume 3, Chapter 20, p. 310,
      […] in an action for trespassing upon land whereof the plaintiff is seised, if the defendant shews a title to the land by descent, and that therefore he had a right to enter, and gives colour to the plaintiff, the plaintiff may either traverse and totally deny the fact of the descent; or he may confess and avoid it, by replying, that true it is that such descent happened, but that since the descent the defendant himself demised the lands to the plaintiff for term of life.
  7. (transitive, obsolete) To emit or throw out; to void.
    • 1577, Richard Eden (translator), The History of Trauayle in the West and East Indies [De Orbo Novo, Decades 1-3] by Peter Martyr d'Anghiera, London, “Of the ordinary nauigation from Spayne to the west Indies,” p. 224b,
      […] the citie of Memi, where is a great Caue or Denne, in the whiche is a spryng or fountayne that contynually auoydeth a great quantitie of Bitumen […]
    • 1646, Thomas Browne, Pseudodoxia Epidemica, London: E. Dod, Book 3, Chapter 13, p. 136,
      […] a Toad pisseth not, nor doe they containe those urinary parts which are found in other animals, to avoid that serous excretion […]
  8. (transitive, obsolete) To leave, evacuate; to leave as empty, to withdraw or come away from.
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, [http://quod.lib.umich.edu/c/cme/MaloryWks2/1:12.17?rgn=div2;view=fulltext chapter xvij], in Le Morte Darthur, book X:
      Anone they encountred to gyders / and he with the reed shelde smote hym soo hard that he bare hym ouer to the erthe / There with anone came another Knyght of the castel / and he was smyten so sore that he auoyded his fadel
    • 1565, Thomas Stapleton (theologian) (translator), Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Compiled by Bede, Englishman, Antwerp, Book 5, Chapter 20, pp. 178b-179,
      […] the bishop commaunded al to auoide the chambre for an houre, and beganne to talke after this manner to his chaplin […]
    • 1587, Raphael Holinshed et al., Holinshed's Chronicles, “Henry III of England,” p. 202,
      This yeare also was a proclamation made in London, and throughout all the realme, that all strangers should auoid the land before the feast of saint Michaell then next following except those that came with merchandize.
    • 1627, Sir Francis Bacon, New Atlantis, London, c. 1658, p. 7,
      Whereupon six of us only stayed, and the rest avoided the Room.
  9. (transitive, obsolete) To get rid of.
    • 1395, Wycliffe's Bible, First Epistle to the Corinthians 13:11,
      Whanne Y was a litil child, Y spak as a litil child, Y vndurstood as a litil child, Y thouyte as a litil child; but whanne Y was maad a man, Y auoidide tho thingis that weren of a litil child.
    • 1587, Raphael Holinshed et al., Holinshed's Chronicles, “The oration of Richard III of England to the chiefteins of his armie,” p. 756,
      […] expell out of your thoughts all douts, auoid out of your minds all feare; and like valiant champions aduance foorth your standards […]
    • circa 1599 William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act I, Scene 1,
      […] the spirit of my father, which I think is within me, begins to mutiny against this servitude. I will no longer endure it, though yet I know no wise remedy how to avoid it.
  10. (intransitive, obsolete) To retire; to withdraw, depart, go away.
    • circa 1526 William Tyndale Bible, Gospel of Matthew 4:8-10,[https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Bible_(Tyndale)/Matthew#Chapter_4]
      The devyll […] sayde to hym: all these will I geue ye, if thou wilt faull doune and worship me. Then sayde Iesus unto hym. Avoyd Satan.
    • circa 1607 William Shakespeare, Coriolanus, Act IV, Scene 5,
      Pray you, poor gentleman, take up some other station; here’s no place for you; pray you, avoid:
    • 1611, King James Version of the Bible, Books of Samuel 18:11,
      And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice.
  11. (intransitive, obsolete) To become void or vacant.
  • (to keep away from) seeSynonyms en
Translations Translations
  • Russian: отменя́ть

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