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[verb dee-vee-eyt; adjective, noun dee-vee-it] /verb ˈdi viˌeɪt; adjective, noun ˈdi vi ɪt/
verb (used without object), deviated, deviating.
to turn aside, as from a route, way, course, etc.
to depart or swerve, as from a procedure, course of action, or acceptable norm.
to digress, as from a line of thought or reasoning.
verb (used with object), deviated, deviating.
to cause to swerve; turn aside.
characterized by deviation or departure from an accepted norm or standard, as of behavior.
a person or thing that departs from the accepted norm or standard.
a person whose sexual behavior departs from the norm in a way that is considered socially or morally unacceptable.
Statistics. a variable equal to the difference between a variate and some fixed value, often the mean.
Origin of deviate
1625-35; < Late Latin dēviātus turned from the straight road, past participle of dēviāre. See deviant, -ate1
Related forms
deviable, adjective
[dee-vee-uh-bil-i-tee] /ˌdi vi əˈbɪl ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
deviator, noun
nondeviating, adjective
undeviable, adjective
undeviated, adjective
undeviating, adjective
undeviatingly, adverb
Can be confused
deviant, deviate.
1. veer, wander, stray.
Synonym Study
1.Deviate, digress, diverge, swerve imply turning or going aside from a path. To deviate is to turn or wander, often by slight degrees, from what is considered the most direct or desirable approach to a given physical, intellectual, or moral end: Fear caused him to deviate from the truth. To digress is primarily to wander from the main theme or topic in writing or speaking: Some authors digress to relate entertaining episodes. Two paths diverge when they proceed from a common point in such directions that the distance between them increases: The sides of an angle diverge from a common point. Their interests gradually diverged. To swerve is to make a sudden or sharp turn from a line or course: The car swerved to avoid striking a pedestrian. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for deviating
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In this manner we reached the hut, deviating from a direct line, in order to do so.

    Satanstoe James Fenimore Cooper
  • deviating from the natural condition, course, or rule; as, an abnormal appetite.

    Orthography Elmer W. Cavins
  • In yielding to his weakness, he knew he was deviating from the life lines he had laid with such forethought for his following.

    Flamsted quarries Mary E. Waller
  • So we jogged along, now and then deviating to double the fallen timber.

  • This enables him to devote his entire mental activity to deviating the one desired variable from the accepted cycle of motions.

  • Still, you see, I could gain nothing by deviating from the truth now.

    The Impostor Harold Bindloss
  • The route to be followed was strictly laid down, and even the vagaries of the winds were scarcely an excuse for deviating from it.

    The Philippine Islands Ramon Reyes Lala
  • Excuse me,” I said, “for deviating a moment from the matter in hand, but have you a hat-pin?

    A Rebellious Heroine John Kendrick Bangs
British Dictionary definitions for deviating


verb (ˈdiːvɪˌeɪt)
(usually intransitive) to differ or diverge or cause to differ or diverge, as in belief or thought
(usually intransitive) to turn aside or cause to turn aside; diverge or cause to diverge
(intransitive) (psychol) to depart from an accepted standard or convention
noun, adjective (ˈdiːvɪɪt)
another word for deviant
Derived Forms
deviator, noun
deviatory, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Late Latin dēviāre to turn aside from the direct road, from de- + via road
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 deviating



1630s, from Late Latin deviatus, past participle of deviare "to turn out of the way" (see deviant). Related: Deviated; deviating. The noun meaning "sexual pervert" is attested from 1912.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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