• (British) IPA: /swɜː(ɹ)v/
  • (GA) IPA: /swɝv/

swerve (swerves, present participle swerving; past and past participle swerved)

  1. (archaic) To stray; to wander; to rove.
    • A maid thitherward did run, / To catch her sparrow which from her did swerve.
  2. To go out of a straight line; to deflect.
    • The point [of the sword] swerved.
  3. To wander from any line prescribed, or from a rule or duty; to depart from what is established by law, duty, custom, or the like; to deviate.
    • I swerve not from thy commandments.
    • They swerve from the strict letter of the law.
    • many who, through the contagion of evil example, swerve exceedingly from the rules of their holy religion
  4. To bend; to incline.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book 6”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker […] [a]nd by Robert Boulter […] [a]nd Matthias Walker, […], OCLC 228722708 ↗; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554 ↗:
      The battle swerved.
  5. To climb or move upward by winding or turning.
    • The tree was high; / Yet nimbly up from bough to bough I swerved.
  6. To turn aside or deviate to avoid impact.
  7. Of a projectile, to travel in a curved line
  8. To drive in the trajectory of another vehicle to stop it, to cut off.
Related terms Translations
  • Russian: блужда́ть
Translations Translations
  • Italian: deviare
  • Russian: отходи́ть
  • Italian: inclinarsi
  • Russian: сгиба́ться
Translations Translations Noun

swerve (plural swerves)

  1. A sudden movement out of a straight line, for example to avoid a collision.
    • 1990, American Motorcyclist (volume 44, number 7, page 11)
      The distinction between using a skill subconsciously and employing it in the full knowledge of what was happening made a dramatic difference. I could execute a swerve to avoid an obstacle in a fraction of the time it previously took.
  2. A deviation from duty or custom.
    • 1874, William Edwin Boardman, Faith-work, Or the Labours of Dr. Cullis, in Boston (page 56)
      […] indubitable evidence of a swerve from the principle of the work.

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