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[swurv] /swɜrv/
verb (used without object), swerved, swerving.
to turn aside abruptly in movement or direction; deviate suddenly from the straight or direct course.
verb (used with object), swerved, swerving.
to cause to turn aside:
Nothing could swerve him.
an act of swerving; turning aside.
1175-1225; Middle English swerven (v.); Old English sweorfan to rub, file; cognate with Dutch zwerven to rove, Old High German swerban, Old Norse sverfa to file, Gothic afswairban to wipe off
Related forms
unswerved, adjective
unswerving, adjective
unswervingly, adverb
unswervingness, noun
1. See deviate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for swerving
  • Sorry for swerving a bit off subject, but privacy is also a critical patient concern regarding medical records.
  • So far, though, no one is swerving from collision course.
  • But it cannot make those decisions that are instinctive to human drivers, such as swerving or accelerating out of danger.
  • Stability systems originally were intended to control swerving and skids, not necessarily rollovers.
  • They didn't see a crisis that was swerving head-on into their lane.
  • Paintings of swerving trains and tipsy houses are taped to the wall.
  • Information on drivers weaving and swerving in traffic.
  • swerving can cause motorists to lose control and travel off the road or into oncoming traffic.
  • Always scan behind for oncoming traffic before swerving into another lane.
  • Your sense of balance is in your head, so you need some practice to turn your head without swerving.
British Dictionary definitions for swerving


to turn or cause to turn aside, usually sharply or suddenly, from a course
(transitive) to avoid (a person or event)
the act, instance, or degree of swerving
Derived Forms
swervable, adjective
swerver, noun
Word Origin
Old English sweorfan to scour; related to Old High German swerban to wipe off, Gothic afswairban to wipe off, Old Norse sverfa to file
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 swerving



early 13c., "to depart, make off;" early 14c., "to turn aside, deviate from a straight course," probably from Old English sweorfan "to rub, scour, file" (but sense development is difficult to trace), from Proto-Germanic *swerbanan (cf Old Norse sverfa "to scour, file," Old Saxon swebran "to wipe off"), from PIE root *swerbh-. Cognate words in other Germanic languages (cf. Old Frisian swerva "to creep," Middle Dutch swerven "to rove, stray") suggests the sense of "go off, turn aside" may have existed in Old English, though unrecorded. Related: Swerved; swerving.


1741, from swerve (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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