[ uh-void ]
See synonyms for: avoidavoidedavoidingavoidable on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object)
  1. to keep away from; keep clear of; shun: to avoid a person;to avoid taxes;to avoid danger.

  2. to prevent from happening: to avoid falling.

  1. Law. to make void or of no effect; invalidate.

  2. Obsolete. to empty; eject or expel.

Origin of avoid

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English avoiden, from Anglo-French avoider, equivalent to a-4 + void

synonym study For avoid

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.

Other words for avoid

Opposites for avoid

Other words from avoid

  • a·void·a·ble, adjective
  • a·void·a·bly, adverb
  • a·void·er, noun
  • non·a·void·a·ble, adjective
  • non·a·void·a·ble·ness, noun
  • non·a·void·a·bly, adverb
  • un·a·void·ing, adjective

Words that may be confused with avoid

Words Nearby avoid

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use avoid in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for avoid


/ (əˈvɔɪd) /

  1. to keep out of the way of

  2. to refrain from doing

  1. to prevent from happening: to avoid damage to machinery

  2. law to make (a plea, contract, etc) void; invalidate; quash

  3. obsolete to expel

  4. obsolete to depart from

Origin of avoid

C14: from Anglo-French avoider, from Old French esvuidier, from vuidier to empty, void

Derived forms of avoid

  • avoidable, adjective
  • avoidably, adverb
  • avoider, noun

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