See more synonyms for avoid 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.
  3. Law. to make void or of no effect; invalidate.
  4. 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 formsa·void·a·ble, adjectivea·void·a·bly, adverba·void·er, nounnon·a·void·a·ble, adjectivenon·a·void·a·ble·ness, nounnon·a·void·a·bly, adverbun·a·void·ing, adjective
Can be confusedavoid evadeavoid ovoid

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.

Synonyms for avoid

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Antonyms for avoid

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for avoid

Contemporary Examples of avoid

Historical Examples of avoid

  • He could not avoid contrasting this behaviour with his past preaching.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • "In truth, my father, I wished to avoid the pain of parting," rejoined Philæmon.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • He resolved to be as prudent as possible, and avoid, as far as he could, any altercation with Haley.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • Avoid me—place yourself in the condition of my opponent, and beware.

  • I shall at least avoid, by that means, the unsisterly insults I meet with from you.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

British Dictionary definitions for avoid


verb (tr)
  1. to keep out of the way of
  2. to refrain from doing
  3. to prevent from happeningto avoid damage to machinery
  4. law to make (a plea, contract, etc) void; invalidate; quash
  5. obsolete to expel
  6. obsolete to depart from
Derived Formsavoidable, adjectiveavoidably, adverbavoider, noun

Word Origin for avoid

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

Word Origin and History for avoid

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