"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[uh-void] /əˈvɔɪd/
verb (used with object)
to keep away from; keep clear of; shun:
to avoid a person; to avoid taxes; to avoid danger.
to prevent from happening:
to avoid falling.
Law. to make void or of no effect; invalidate.
Obsolete. to empty; eject or expel.
Origin of avoid
1250-30; Middle English avoiden < Anglo-French avoider, equivalent to a- a-4 + voider to void
Related forms
avoidable, adjective
avoidably, adverb
avoider, noun
nonavoidable, adjective
nonavoidableness, noun
nonavoidably, adverb
unavoiding, adjective
Can be confused
avoid, evade.
avoid, ovoid.
1. evade, elude, dodge.
1. confront, face, encounter.
Synonym Study
1. Avoid, escape mean to come through a potentially harmful or unpleasant experience, without suffering serious consequences. To avoid is to succeed in keeping away from something dangerous or undesirable: to avoid meeting an enemy. Escape suggests encountering peril but coming through it safely: to escape drowning. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for avoidable
  • Although this activity talks about several types of fire, it doesn't mention home fires, which are more common but avoidable.
  • And the large pieces that could do damage are easily visible and avoidable.
  • It has to do with parents' desire to have healthy kids or avoid burdening children with avoidable inherited diseases.
  • Indeed, the pang of an avoidable loss lingers longer than the rush of an expected victory.
  • Deaths from avoidable medical error more than double in past decade, investigation shows.
  • Actually, with some smart software, that might be avoidable.
  • Only future generations will be able to tell whether decisions such as these turn out to be non-issues, or avoidable tragedies.
  • The only thing more tragic than the fate of homeless animals is the fact that their deaths are entirely avoidable.
  • All mistakes look avoidable in hindsight, of course, and the nature of such stories is that only the failures surface.
  • Whether it was an avoidable mistake is something else that needs to be addressed.
British Dictionary definitions for avoidable


verb (transitive)
to keep out of the way of
to refrain from doing
to prevent from happening: to avoid damage to machinery
(law) to make (a plea, contract, etc) void; invalidate; quash
(obsolete) to expel
(obsolete) to depart from
Derived Forms
avoidable, adjective
avoidably, adverb
avoider, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Anglo-French avoider, from Old French esvuidier, from vuidier to empty, void
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for avoidable

1630s, from avoid + -able. Related: Avoidably.



c.1300, from Anglo-French avoider "to clear out, withdraw (oneself)," partially anglicized from Old French esvuidier "to empty out," from es- "out" (see ex-) + vuidier "to be empty," from voide "empty, vast, wide, hollow, waste" (see void (adj.)). Originally a law term; modern sense of "have nothing to do with" also was in Middle English and corresponds to Old French eviter with which it was perhaps confused. Meaning "escape, evade" first attested 1520s. Related: Avoided; avoiding.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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