tr.v. a·void·ed, a·void·ing, a·voids
a. To stay clear of; go around or away from: swerve to avoid a pothole.
b. To take measures so as not to meet or see (someone): "He never let go of the idea that she lived out there in order to avoid him" (Elizabeth Benedict).
2. To prevent from happening: You can avoid illness with exercise and a balanced diet.
a. To refrain from using, engaging in, or partaking of: avoid red meat; avoid risky behavior.
b. To refrain from (doing something): It was all we could do to avoid laughing at the remark.
4. Law To annul or make void; invalidate.
5. Obsolete To void or expel.
[Middle English avoiden, from Anglo-Norman avoider, to empty out, variant of Old French esvuidier : es-, out (from Latin ex-; see EX-) + vuidier, to empty (from voide, empty; see VOID).]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus