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[yaw] /yɔ/
verb (used without object)
to deviate temporarily from a straight course, as a ship.
(of an aircraft) to have a motion about its vertical axis.
(of a rocket or guided missile) to deviate from a stable flight attitude by oscillation of the longitudinal axis in the horizontal plane.
verb (used with object)
to cause to yaw.
a movement of deviation from a direct course, as of a ship.
a motion of an aircraft about its vertical axis.
an angle, to the right or left, determined by the direction of motion of an aircraft or spacecraft and its vertical and longitudinal plane of symmetry.
  1. the act of yawing.
  2. the angular displacement of the longitudinal axis due to yawing.
Origin of yaw1
First recorded in 1540-50; origin uncertain Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for yawed
Historical Examples
  • At the same moment she yawed sharply and seemed to change her course.

    Treasure Island Robert Louis Stevenson
  • We yawed a little so as to bring all our starboard guns to bear.

    Hurricane Hurry W.H.G. Kingston
  • We yawed, so that our guns could be brought to bear on the stranger.

  • The ship swayed and yawed frightfully from this side to that.

  • In a few minutes she yawed to starboard, and the main-sail was taken aback.

  • At the same moment, she yawed sharply and seemed to change her course.

    Treasure Island Robert Louis Stevenson
  • There Banjo sidled, yawed, and passaged, fretting to be after the brown.

    Boy Woodburn Alfred Ollivant
  • The brig rolled awfully, and with four men at the wheel, yawed wildly.

    The Ruined Cities of Zululand Hugh Mulleneux Walmsley
  • The strain on the Miami was extremely great, but the hawser held well, although the Northwestern yawed frightfully.

    The Boy With the U. S. Life-Savers Francis Rolt-Wheeler
  • Able Jake, with the controlling influence of the jets cut, had yawed slightly and was now traveling crabwise.

    Far from Home J.A. Taylor
British Dictionary definitions for yawed


(intransitive) (of an aircraft, missile, etc) to turn about its vertical axis Compare pitch1 (sense 11), roll (sense 14)
(intransitive) (of a ship, etc) to deviate temporarily from a straight course
(transitive) to cause (an aircraft, ship, etc) to yaw
the angular movement of an aircraft, missile, etc, about its vertical axis
the deviation of a vessel from a straight course
Word Origin
C16: of unknown origin
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 yawed



"to fall away from the line of a course," 1540s, from Old Norse jaga, Old Danish jæge "to drive, chase," from Middle Low German jagen (see yacht).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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