Origin of deviate

1625–35; < Late Latin dēviātus turned from the straight road, past participle of dēviāre. See deviant, -ate1
Related formsde·vi·a·ble, adjectivede·vi·a·bil·i·ty [dee-vee-uh-bil-i-tee] /ˌdi vi əˈbɪl ɪ ti/, nounde·vi·a·tor, nounnon·de·vi·at·ing, adjectiveun·de·vi·a·ble, adjectiveun·de·vi·at·ed, adjectiveun·de·vi·at·ing, adjectiveun·de·vi·at·ing·ly, adverb
Can be confuseddeviant deviate

Synonyms for deviate

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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for deviating

Contemporary Examples of deviating

Historical Examples of deviating

  • It serves me right for deviating from the rules of business.

    White Lies

    Charles Reade

  • That does not matter; she will help you, I dare say, by deviating a little from the exact truth.

    Ten Years Later

    Alexandre Dumas, Pere

  • Deviating from the natural condition, course, or rule; as, an abnormal appetite.


    Elmer W. Cavins

  • One of the greatest of these dangers lies in deviating from custom.

    Godolphin, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • So we jogged along, now and then deviating to double the fallen timber.

British Dictionary definitions for deviating


verb (ˈdiːvɪˌeɪt)

(usually intr) to differ or diverge or cause to differ or diverge, as in belief or thought
(usually intr) to turn aside or cause to turn aside; diverge or cause to diverge
(intr) psychol to depart from an accepted standard or convention

noun, adjective (ˈdiːvɪɪt)

another word for deviant
Derived Formsdeviator, noundeviatory, adjective

Word Origin for deviate

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

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