• 1no object Plan and direct the course of a ship, aircraft, or other form of transport, especially by using instruments or maps.

    ‘they navigated by the stars’
    • ‘In order to navigate at night, commanders used compasses and parachute flares.’
    • ‘They learned how to build ships and navigate by the stars - perhaps even inheriting a tentative map of the globe.’
    • ‘They navigated by following the flight pattern of gannets and plied the oarsmen with whisky so when they arrived ‘there was scarce one of our crew able to manage cable or anchor’.’
    • ‘When human mariners and lunar astronauts navigated by dead reckoning they used charts, tables, various measuring instruments, and a considerable amount of mathematics.’
    • ‘With no official course, no maps and, for half the race, no roads, drivers navigate by counting telegraph poles, by compass and by observing the position of the sun.’
    • ‘With the chart, we are navigating by the stars.’
    • ‘Teams travel entirely on foot, navigating by map and compass between checkpoints in terrain that varies from open farmland to hilly forest.’
    • ‘Early on sailors navigated by the stars at night and the north star became the symbol for finding ones way home.’
    • ‘Entrants have to create vehicles that propel themselves, steer, navigate and negotiate potholes, ravines, sand dunes and boulders without any human intervention.’
    • ‘A disadvantage about TomTom however is that it has to have a starting location on the map before it is able to navigate, or calculate a route.’
    • ‘This can mean narrowing roads and removing clear-cut edges, prompting drivers to navigate with care.’
    • ‘The tank commander can use his map display to navigate, orientate, and control his subunits.’
    • ‘Vehicles must decide how to navigate and avoid these obstacles while traveling at 10 to 30 miles per hour.’
    • ‘Whether bobbing about on a dinghy or crossing the oceans on a Tall Ship, one can learn the mechanics of piloting and navigating.’
    • ‘Upon entering the building, they found they had difficulty navigating in the dark.’
    • ‘Today I skied from base camp up to Heart Lake and back, traversing a couple of small passes, navigating by compass through two snow squalls, and fording a river.’
    • ‘Beginning in the early 1960s, the U.S. Navy developed a satellite system to help it navigate at sea.’
    • ‘My companion here will use a light spell if that's what's needed to navigate in the dark!’
    • ‘I couldn't see an inch past my window, and the pilot couldn't navigate at all, because his instruments suddenly went haywire.’
    • ‘It's all in an effort to make the route more challenging and test the driving and navigating skills of each team.’
    • ‘It enables the commander to plan missions, navigate, and continuously update situational awareness.’
    • ‘GPS allows you to navigate safely, even when caught in a heavy fog or other bad weather conditions.’
    1. 1.1no object, with adverbial of direction Travel on a desired course after planning a route.
      ‘he taught them how to navigate across the oceans’
      • ‘I use my Oyster card, one of those new-fangled ‘smart cards’, to navigate quickly throughout the London Transport network.’
      • ‘My driver had navigated through the arid steppe land without compass or map let alone one of those hateful satellite guidance systems.’
      • ‘Dispatchers are able to help drivers navigate around Europe by seeing where a driver is and telling him or her how to get out of tight spots, Guerrero said.’
      • ‘Motorists have to navigate between potholes when using either routes and the surface of the roadway has disintegrated in places.’
      • ‘This system permits the operator to navigate along pipeline planned routes and log the GPS coordinates of the aircraft's trajectory.’
      • ‘Thao had already researched and planned out this small excursion, and so navigated expertly towards the executive's office.’
      • ‘We finished the preliminary Pensacola-hospital route by navigating to a nearby training airfield.’
      • ‘More route choices were given to teams to navigate to the checkpoints.’
      • ‘Office and rescue workers are seen navigating through the streets, covered with gray dust, making their way to safety.’
      • ‘The instructor had been navigating over the mountains with Doppler and had the coordinates of the airport plugged into the system.’
      • ‘Signs hanging in the showroom help visitors navigate between categories like lighting, furniture, interior finishes and office equipment.’
      • ‘They help hunters navigate back to camp or to a hunting spot.’
      • ‘Both Mr and Mrs Redwood will be taking part in the long-distance trek where they navigate by map along unmarked trails and cross through the odd cold river.’
      • ‘Swept along in the flood all I had to do was to try to navigate through the best looking route by flapping my limbs.’
      • ‘She removed her hand from his grasp quickly and kept her eyes down as they navigated through the oceans of people.’
      travel across, go across, cut across, make one's way across, traverse, range over, tramp over, wander over
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    2. 1.2 (of an animal) find its way.
      ‘whales use their own inbuilt sonar system to navigate’
      • ‘Other animals are also thought to navigate using magnetite.’
      • ‘The author explains how, aided by a thousand eyes, ants navigate and how they use dead reckoning.’
      • ‘Zoologists at Oxford have come up with a new theory to explain how homing pigeons navigate.’
      • ‘Families witness animals enduring an extreme climate, such as deer navigating through three feet of snow.’
      • ‘Migratory species are difficult to manage because nobody really knows how they learn their migration routes or how they navigate.’
      • ‘Researchers now acknowledge that there is no one simple unified theory of how birds can navigate so precisely.’
      • ‘Migratory birds unerringly cross countries, continents, and even oceans by using magnetic fields to navigate.’
      • ‘Their movies highlighted the bats' ability to navigate around the full range of objects in their environment, including trees and bodies of water.’
      • ‘How does a dog navigate to snatch a Frisbee out of the air?’
      • ‘The blind mole rat is the first animal found to navigate by combining dead reckoning with a sense of Earth's magnetic field, researchers say.’
      • ‘Canadians marvelled at the animals' ingenuity to navigate and survive in the urban terrain.’
      • ‘Whales navigate hundreds of miles using a mental map of the sea floor based on sound, scientists revealed yesterday.’
      • ‘The birds navigate with sound waves bounced off walls and crevices, so the air is filled with the clicks of flyers along with the peeps of the chicks.’
      • ‘The evidence that this particular creature navigates by dead reckoning comes from some painstaking research carried out by R. Wehner and M. V. Srinivasan in 1980-81.’
      • ‘This variation is not trivial functionally, because these sensory hairs help the insect navigate through the air.’
      • ‘But we've found that chickens will use the sun to navigate over distances of just a couple of metres.’
      • ‘The first birds, all males, have arrived there about two months earlier, navigating unerringly across the ice in the deep chill of early spring.’
      • ‘You really have to believe these animals are navigating in a purposeful way.’
      • ‘Insects navigate by smell to find food, mates and, in the case of disease-spreading mosquitoes, humans to bite.’
      • ‘Research shows special molecules help the birds navigate at night’
      • ‘He covers the why and how of migration, including how birds navigate and orient themselves.’
    3. 1.3 (of a passenger in a vehicle) assist the driver by planning a route and map reading.
      ‘we'll go in my car—you can navigate’
      • ‘Well, not with me driving and Michael navigating you couldn't, as slowly the streets took on an ever more Escheresque quality.’
      • ‘Patrick was steering the boat while Becky navigated.’
      • ‘Until this year his co-driver was his sister, but she has vacated the passenger's seat for Robert Reid, who navigated for ex-world champion Richard Burns.’
      • ‘This time around, I got into the drivers seat and had Landon with me to navigate while the others whispered and giggled maniacally in the backseat.’
      • ‘We pull into San Diego, Sarah's driving and I start navigating using the printouts she handed me.’
      • ‘I speak as a man who can get lost in his own living room, a driver who for years depended on his then wife to navigate on every trip we took.’
      • ‘Chris went on to navigate for a variety of other drivers including Peter Banham on the East African Safari.’
      • ‘But I knew how much he'd relish navigating me through the Auvergne on a car-borne hunt for the gems of Romanesque church architecture that have lodged themselves in his heart over all these years.’
      • ‘I navigated on other boats in other ocean races.’
      map-read, give directions, plan the route
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    4. 1.4Computing Move around a website, the Internet, etc.
      with adverbial of direction ‘I used a browser to navigate around the Web’
      with object ‘software used to navigate the Internet’
      • ‘You can navigate using the links above and search the site using the search facility.’
      • ‘Use File Manager to navigate to the home directory of the web site's administrator.’
      • ‘The more I navigated the site, the more taken I became with the overall professionalism.’
      • ‘The site is easily navigated with clear links to each product page.’
      • ‘Many times a lot of visitors do not have the patience to navigate through the whole website to find what they are looking for.’
      • ‘The documents can be navigated by keyword search, table of contents or hyperlinks.’
      • ‘Users can easily navigate their way round the pages.’
      • ‘As users navigate deeper into the Web site, the probability of losing sight of their original goal is also higher.’
      • ‘Although Boo's old site was far superior in terms of selection, the new site is more directed and easier to navigate.’
      • ‘Since launching in 2000, Eyetools had built a thriving consulting business by helping clients understand exactly how Internet users react when navigating a website.’
      • ‘If you got most of the answers right, you can safely navigate a wine list without fear of intimidation.’
      • ‘The software helps you navigate through an e-book by simply clicking on the pages.’
      • ‘If you don't have the program shortcut on your desktop, go to Start / All Programs and navigate to the desired program.’
      • ‘Instead of having to navigate a generic intranet site for your R&D group, you can create links and sign up for updates that relate only to those five projects.’
      • ‘The filename has to be typed back in after navigating to the desired directory before the file can be saved.’
      • ‘The rationale for adopting a single platform is that it might be beneficial for students trying to navigate through various courses, since they have a similar format.’
      • ‘When you navigate to a website, your browser looks for a file named index.htm.’
      • ‘Make it easy for your viewers to navigate around your website by putting navigation links on all of your pages.’
      • ‘As I have said before, how many users go to a Website just to navigate through information space?’
      • ‘Click the Browse button and navigate to the directory you set up earlier.’
      • ‘Ensure that the links that are put on your website work and that your website is easy to navigate.’
      • ‘There is a directory to search, a diagram of the building, and a tree of floors and rooms, all navigated by touch.’
      • ‘In Windows Explorer, navigate to the desired folder and right-click on the folder.’
      • ‘Instead, visitors navigate with the help of images and icons.’
      • ‘The users built and managed their portfolios by navigating through the web site using a set of graphic buttons that appeared on the top and bottom of every page.’
      • ‘It is easy to monitor one net or many nets using the touch screen device to navigate between the systems.’
      • ‘It takes time to learn how to navigate the page, and we've probably lost many readers to that defect.’
      • ‘Navigate to your project directory and open the track you want to edit.’
      • ‘Once you've navigated to the desired day, double-click on the appointment time and a separate window opens up.’
      • ‘Ask your grandmother (or someone who is not familiar with the Web) to navigate your site.’
      • ‘Installing the driver manually is done by navigating to Device Manager.’
      • ‘These images must be structured so that they can be intelligently and conveniently navigated by the user and still understood to comprise one ‘object’ in the collection.’
      • ‘Significant mouse motion is required to navigate across a display with this resolution, and it's occasionally difficulty to locate the cursor.’
      • ‘How can users navigate between related areas of your site?’
      • ‘Using keystrokes, such as the arrow down or tab keys, you navigate through your computer system.’
      • ‘Europeans are already using the Internet to navigate around some of the EU regulations that inflate the price of books, cars, and other items.’
      • ‘Try to avoid having a horizontal scrolling bar, as it makes the website difficult to navigate.’
      • ‘This is the software you use to navigate the Internet.’
      • ‘Such sites are designed for one-time visitors to navigate and explore, rather than to search.’
    5. 1.5 (of a ship or boat) sail; proceed.
      with adverbial of direction ‘we sailed out while navigating around large icebergs’
      • ‘The slipway is seen as a serious hazard to vessels navigating in the East Basin.’
      • ‘But at some point in the flight radio contact is believed to have been lost when the aircraft was apparently trying to navigate around bad weather.’
      • ‘I am up early to watch the ship navigate though familiar waters and approach Pattaya in the distance.’
      • ‘It is said there are water plants grow so thickly upon the river further upstream, that no boat can navigate through it.’
      • ‘Port of London Authority rules require that all craft must proceed at all times at a safe speed when navigating anywhere on the tidal Thames.’
      • ‘An endless stream of red double-deckers navigated down the street, pulling in to pick off passengers from the harbour of their bus shelter.’
      • ‘Every day the ship carefully navigated through the channels of blue icebergs, some as large as aircraft carriers, some smaller chunks of the most magnificently formed shapes.’
      • ‘The henchmen had finished unloading the drugs, so the boat navigated off into the darkness once again.’
      • ‘Indeed ships used to navigate by the sounds of turtles hitting their hulls and that's how they knew they were getting close to land at night.’
      • ‘Hence, many ships navigated around Dutch controlled territories to avoid paying these duties.’
      • ‘They were smaller ships that could navigate into the islands, and often they were from family-owned fleets.’
      • ‘The lead vehicle has a challenge as it navigates through the city.’
      • ‘The Harbor Department is voicing its fears about the navigation aspect, saying that the Royal Navy has the equipment to verify all ships in the sea territory in case they navigate off course.’
  • 2with object Sail or travel over (a stretch of water or terrain), especially carefully or with difficulty.

    ‘ships had been lost while navigating the narrows’
    ‘the drivers skilfully navigated a muddy course’
    • ‘As tourism has increased in the polar region, this survey work is vital for the safety of passenger cruise ships navigating difficult waters.’
    • ‘I simply do not have confidence in him to navigate the waters ahead skilfully enough to avoid or survive the darkening clouds on the horizon.’
    • ‘As a Royal Navy lieutenant, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for navigating unchartered waters off the Burmese coast.’
    • ‘Many are the first in their families to go to college, so they are navigating uncharted waters.’
    • ‘I have navigated the choppy waters of love and come out on top.’
    • ‘Then the bath was ready and the knight drew him to his feet and helped him navigate the wooden steps into the tub.’
    • ‘It's natural that transitions to new technology may be somewhat disruptive, and there are several methods companies use to navigate these rough waters.’
    • ‘All of these are very useful when navigating complex routes.’
    • ‘The inlets between the islands had to be carefully navigated; in some places, the water was so shallow that rocks lurked only inches under the surface.’
    • ‘Has anyone been able to successfully navigate these waters?’
    • ‘A study for protest group Friends of the River claims that, as well as flooding farmland, the river would become hard to navigate, damaging sailing, local tourism and a range of businesses.’
    • ‘The skies are too foggy to be navigated by helicopter.’
    • ‘Other travellers have navigated parts of the river, Africa's largest, but nobody has completed the entire stretch.’
    • ‘Flowerpots adorn the poolside and servants navigate the steps gingerly carrying dishes laden with goodies.’
    • ‘The canoes are often fitted out with sails and are well suited for navigating the waters of the Darien between the Panamanian coast and the islands.’
    • ‘Moreover all are at liberty to navigate that vast ocean, since the use of the sea and the air are common to all.’
    • ‘To Deakin's knowledge, no one else has succeeded in navigating a stretch of water classed by the Royal Navy as ‘unnavigable’.’
    • ‘Employers and pension fund trustees have been warned to think carefully about how to navigate the law changes on pensions.’
    • ‘The record industry now has a chance to navigate these uncharted waters.’
    • ‘They see themselves as skilled pilots flawlessly navigating the treacherous waters of higher education and race relations.’
    sail across, sail over, sail, cruise, journey across, journey over, travel across, travel over, voyage across, voyage over
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Guide (a vessel or vehicle) over a specified route or terrain.
      ‘she navigated the car safely through the traffic’
      • ‘To safely navigate a boat, one has to be able to see and identify day marks, buoys and the occasional sign for the restaurant we want to visit.’
      • ‘Since medieval times, mariners have employed dead reckoning to navigate their vessels.’
      • ‘While navigating the vehicle through obstacles, Church fired his rifle at insurgents with one hand while encouraging his platoon leader to stay conscious.’
      • ‘Next morning we used the GPS to navigate the truck in from a different direction.’
      • ‘He navigated the boat onto the dusty sand and switched the noisy engine off.’
      • ‘Each week they will have to navigate the ship as well as performing testing tasks and challenges to earn treats and privileges.’
      • ‘We agree that it's too late to navigate the boats downriver in the dark.’
      • ‘The helmsman skillfully navigated the ship towards the enormous docking bay doors which engulfed the view screen.’
      • ‘Pilots must navigate their aircraft at least three times every 90 days and have a health check-up every 24 months.’
      • ‘The members of HPL went on strike until their contract ran out and the new service now navigates vessels on the Humber.’
      • ‘Jean navigated the motor caravan along a winding but well-paved road after they left the A82 and turned away from Loch Ness.’
      • ‘When introduced, the limits will only apply to recreational mariners when their vessel is under way and then only to those who are navigating the vessel.’
      • ‘The smaller telescope has a wider viewing angle, and will be more useful for navigating the spacecraft to its destination.’
      • ‘With laundry piled on her lap, she routinely risked life and limb as she navigated her wheelchair over the highway to the laundromat on the other side of town.’
      • ‘As we slowly navigate the rental van up a narrow sloping driveway, a half-dozen young teenage boys dart across our path, passing a basketball back and forth.’
      • ‘We couldn't get them out because the light was gone and we can't navigate a boat in this type of environment at night.’
      • ‘Until recently, oceanographers gathered much of their data from solitary vessels that they navigated by means of stars and sextants.’
      • ‘Noticing me, Nancy immediately quietens and takes to navigating the car out onto the road.’
      • ‘It is planning to withdraw the pilots' authorisation to navigate vessels in the estuary on January 27 when their working contracts run out.’
      • ‘Our guide Roberto skilfully navigated his boat into the various grottos lining the coast.’
      steer, pilot
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2informal Guide or steer (someone)
      ‘Ted was navigating her towards the other end of the room’
      • ‘One of the girls had been to New York before, and fairly expertly navigated us to a tiny gay piano bar set in a tiny triangular building created by the intersection of grid lines and old Indian trails.’
      • ‘He navigates her around the nosy relatives and loud-mouthed friends.’
      • ‘Holding her tight, he kept his shotgun ready in one hand as he carefully navigated them to the main deck and disembarked.’
      • ‘Graham had navigated us through to Central London with complete accuracy and even the Hangar Lane Gyratory System had presented no problem.’
      • ‘The Oregon Trail was a computer game where you had to navigate your family across the country to settle in uncharted lands in the west.’
      • ‘Shortly before his death, he decided he ought to read the Harry Potter series and enlisted the services of my son to navigate him through the detail.’
      • ‘There are tables and diagrams and a vocabulary of the terms used by the author to navigate the readers though the book.’
      • ‘Good architects come with a wealth of ideas and they will also be able to navigate you around the planning laws.’
      • ‘You gonna see how I'm gonna navigate you through the journey.’


Late 16th century (in the sense ‘travel in a ship’): from Latin navigat- ‘sailed’, from the verb navigare, from navis ‘ship’ + agere ‘drive’.