Share this entry

deviate Line breaks: de¦vi|ate

Definition of deviate in English:


Pronunciation: /ˈdiːvɪeɪt/
[no object] (usually deviate from)
1Depart from an established course: you must not deviate from the agreed route
More example sentences
  • Meanwhile, the rest of the world must not deviate from its carbon-cutting course.
  • Sometimes members deviate from the course, and commanders must take corrective actions.
  • The wristbands are not freely distributed to our employees as it would deviate from the original intention to help our target beneficiaries in Indonesia who need curative eye treatment.
diverge, digress, drift, stray, slew, veer, swerve, turn away, turn aside, get sidetracked, branch off, differ, vary, change, depart, be different;
be at variance with, run counter to, contrast with, contravene, contradict
rare divagate
1.1Depart from usual or accepted standards: those who deviate from society’s values
More example sentences
  • ‘It doesn't make sense to deviate from the standard except in a small way if there are pragmatic deviations that make sense,’ he said.
  • How much sacrifice are we willing to make, how much are we willing to deviate from the socially accepted standard behaviour?
  • Such a high premium exists on the female appearance, anything we do to deviate from the accepted standard of beauty is seen as reckless endangerment.

noun& adjective

Pronunciation: /ˈdiːvɪət/
Back to top  
old-fashioned term for deviant.
Example sentences
  • The stigmatising of homosexuals as perverts or deviates is over.
  • Anyway, the ‘real’ sex between us is wonderful, but I would like to know if he is a deviate who perhaps needs professional help. - Louisiana Lady
  • Three Kiktu warriors were especially vociferous in their displeasure; exchanging loud quips on the subject of pitiful, decrepit, tired, over-large, old, ugly, beaten-down, one-eyed sexual deviates.


Mid 16th century (as an adjective in the sense 'remote'): from late Latin deviat- 'turned out of the way', from the verb deviare, from de- 'away from' + via 'way'. The verb dates from the mid 17th century.



Pronunciation: /ˈdiːvɪeɪtə/
Example sentences
  • The Koran states: ‘Fight and slay the Pagans wherever you find them… the deviators, they are the fuel of hell.’
  • My previous panicking mode was distorted into a mischievous deviator that knew exactly what he was going to do.

Words that rhyme with deviate

abbreviate, alleviate

Definition of deviate in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day confidant
Pronunciation: ˈkɒnfɪdant
a person with whom one shares a secret...