Use One Of These Words To Avoid Something

Don't Avoid These Words!

As the old saying goes, “honesty is the best policy.” There are times, though, when it might be in your best interest to be less forthcoming. Take the nation’s capital. In a city known for subterfuge, information is a valuable commodity. The more you know, the more powerful you are. But sharing your knowledge can sometimes present its own set of unique challenges. Perhaps the old saying could be revised—”honesty is the best policy...but there are always options.”

If you want to avoid something, be it the truth, your math homework, taking the dog for a walk when it’s snowing, shoveling the driveway after you get back from that walk, or spending the day with your crazy Aunt Martha and her dozen equally crazy cats, here are nine different ways you can avoid just about anything (or at least avoid calling it avoiding)!

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Our meaning for evade says this is escaping from something by trickery or cleverness. Say you’re at a party and you see your former flame. It ended badly. So you cover yourself with your black jacket and squeeze in behind the tall potted plant in the corner, while you hold your breath. That’s evasion. Well played.


Misdirect literally means you’re sending someone (or something) in the wrong direction. For instance, “the post office unintentionally misdirected the package to the wrong address” or “the directions misdirected him to the wrong highway exit.” Either way, something or someone is lost. Hope you have your tracking number.


You know skirt as a type of clothing, but when you’re skirting something, you’re avoiding it: “The senator skirted the issue.” Of course, this rarely happens with politicians. You might hear this word in the weather headlines, too. If you think your town is about to get blasted with snow, but the forecasters got it wrong, they’d cover their tracks by saying “The storm took a different track and ended up skirting the city.”


The word eschew doesn’t get used a lot—perhaps because it’s hard to say (and sounds like you’re sneezing)! It means you’re abstaining from something. It seems like one of those words that shows up in the print domain, but is rarely spoken. Imagine these two examples in print, for example: “vegetarians are known to eschew all forms of meat” or “the peaceful protest marchers eschewed violence.”


Here’s another word that brings up the sneaky angle. To circumvent means “to avoid (defeat, failure, unpleasantness, etc.) by artfulness or deception” or to “avoid by anticipating or outwitting.” MacGyver would do this on television a lot: “he circumvented capture by anticipating their movements.” Another usage you hear is when someone “circumvents the law.” Lawyers do this by finding an obscure loophole.


If you dodge someone, you’re using “evasive methods.” You can do this a number of ways. You can literally dodge someone by getting out of their way, like that car you dodged in the crosswalk when it ran a red light. If you’re verbally dodging someone, you’re misleading them by giving a false impression. That’s also known as prevaricating.


Deflect is a commonly used term. When you deflect, you “bend or turn aside; (you) turn from a true course or straight line.” Just like with the word dodge, there are two ways you can go here—a verbal and a physical angle. Verbally, you might say “the company deflected any talk of a slump by announcing record profits.” Physically, you can deflect an object thrown at you by putting up your arm. Bonus for the Trekkies out there: don’t forget about the Enterprise deflector dish.

Fake Out

This is a commonly used slang verb phrase that means to deceive. Remember the guy at school that suddenly became your best friend right at final exams? He wanted to copy your bio-chem answers. You got faked out, pal. It can also be used as a physical reference, like when a football runner fakes out a tackler with a fancy move at the goal line.


We define this as “to turn aside or from a path or course; (to) deflect.” On the news, you may hear that “the White House is attempting to divert media attention away from the latest scandal.” Not that we’ve been hearing this a lot or anything.

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