Definition of deviate in English:



[no object]
Pronunciation /ˈdiːvɪeɪt/
usually deviate from
  • 1Depart from an established course.

    ‘you must not deviate from the agreed route’
    • ‘In one case, a sea captain followed his urge to change his ship's course, even though this caused him to deviate from the most direct route to his port.’
    • ‘In the end, I submit that what nonoriginalists really want is not to follow the happenstance of changed meanings but to ignore or deviate from the original meaning because they disagree with it.’
    • ‘The text itself provides examples of films from each period/genre, though we tend to deviate from that in actually presenting the course.’
    • ‘Therefore, to what extent the actual divergence times deviate from those predicted by these models is also of great concern.’
    • ‘In fact, globalists who deviate from the official portrayal of globalization as benefiting everyone must bear the consequences of their criticism.’
    • ‘Drifting on like a seemingly endless summers day this song does quite contrastingly deviate from the idea of not having a care in the world.’
    • ‘But so strong are the temptations to deviate from this path that we must make it an unbreakable precept never to give our assent unless the evidence compels it.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, the rest of the world must not deviate from its carbon-cutting course.’
    • ‘Although he's not obligated to deviate from his original quest to destroy the kingpins of the criminal underworld, taking a few minutes to eliminate rabble in the streets augments the game significantly in two ways.’
    • ‘As a result of this literary pre-knowledge many people were eager to tell us just how and in what ways the films have dared to deviate from the authority of Tolkien's original.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, Tales from Loobiecore doesn't deviate from the formula he established on the first two Sentridoh releases, only even less inspired and just plain bland most of the time.’
    • ‘And again the creature came within a few meters of him but simply continued floating after Angel as though it was loathe to deviate from her rather ridiculous circular course.’
    • ‘It is essential, however, that these paths intersect at key points, so one can stray or purposively deviate from an easier trail to a more difficult one (or from a more defined to a less defined one).’
    • ‘Sometimes members deviate from the course, and commanders must take corrective actions.’
    • ‘If, like me and so many other people, you've read the books over and over, the movies irritate every time they deviate from the original.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘At the very best, the Energy Department might be allowed to deviate from the proposed corridor within 10 percent of the original plan.’
    • ‘However, this is different from authority to deviate from the law, especially international legal obligations.’
    • ‘However, the main character of madrasas, to promote and establish Islam, cannot be changed, as we cannot deviate from the main purpose.’
    • ‘Yet in each of these films, the most memorable elements are those which deviate from the original novel.’
    diverge, digress, drift, stray, slew, veer, swerve, turn away, turn aside, get sidetracked, branch off, differ, vary, change, depart, be different
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Depart from usual or accepted standards.
      ‘those who deviate from society's values’
      • ‘Whichever of these is the case, it is clear that for an astrologer to deviate from these accepted values would be considered very unusual.’
      • ‘That opinion must state that the doctor in question deviated from the standard of care and caused injury or death to occur.’
      • ‘Carriers and vendors will always strive to differentiate themselves by introducing equipment and services that deviate from existing standards.’
      • ‘But assuming the study was accurate, why is it that women are the ones who are seen as having an unusual response here, deviating somehow from the ‘norm’?’
      • ‘That approach consists of a code of good practice (The Highway Code), a requirement that drivers pass a qualifying test, and a network of offences to penalize those who deviate from proper standards.’
      • ‘The Zulu, on the other hand, have their own traditional courtship practices which deviate somewhat from the patriarchal standard typical of most tribal societies.’
      • ‘Any treatment protocol that deviates from the community standard of care should be carefully considered and voluntarily chosen by the patient, and explicit documentation of this should be included in the medical record.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘The controversial part was the catch-all phrase ‘practices that seriously deviate from those commonly accepted.’’
      • ‘After all, unlike, say, The Dave Matthews Band, Benton and his God-killing comrades deviate pretty far from accepted societal norms.’
      • ‘This clause says the Minister can allow a department not to exercise integrity, to deviate from the standards set out.’
      • ‘And how greatly does that behavior deviate from bygone standards of greater constraint?’
      • ‘To answer clinically valuable questions, it is often necessary for clinical trials to randomize subjects to interventions that deviate from the standard of care in medical practice.’
      • ‘How much can you deviate from a standard and still function?’
      • ‘Hurston's representation may deviate from standard scientific format, but apparently in contrast to Odum and Johnson, she strives more than they to retain the essential content.’
      • ‘It's only dangerous if you get careless and deviate from safety standards.’
      • ‘A board that attempts to follow a standard procedure, but deviates from it on a regular basis may be less productive than it would be if it didn't try to follow the procedure.’
      • ‘If you deviated from this standard, you were shackled with guilt.’

noun & adjective

Pronunciation /ˈdiːvɪət/
  • old-fashioned term for deviant
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Is that what you want - the blessings of God upon these sexual deviates?’
    • ‘She fought the temptation to urinate, as she'd done to the first, as a deviate had done to her long ago.’
    • ‘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’
    • ‘The stigmatising of homosexuals as perverts or deviates is over.’


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.