Definition of swerve in English:



  • Change or cause to change direction abruptly.

    ‘a lorry swerved across her path’
    [with object] ‘O'Hara swerved the motorcycle round the corner’
    • ‘Lucio's free-kick swerves wildly but Barthez claims well.’
    • ‘It should be widened and sidewalks introduced - a truck swerving to avoid a pedestrian was the cause of one of last week's crashes there.’
    • ‘The camera swerves quickly from the murder to the reaction: Meenakshi retching in horror.’
    • ‘Every time the driver swerves, a few hundred pedestrians are killed.’
    • ‘The sudden swerves from genre to genre prove unsettling rather than exciting.’
    • ‘As if on cue, a motorist, seeing the grisly scene before him, swerves in order to crush this cannibal rat.’
    • ‘With this decision, the film swerves into sentimentalist airspace.’
    • ‘A few cars swerved and squeezed by us, but finally someone had to stop and give us way.’
    • ‘He sidesteps, swerves and pauses after difficult questions to consider his answers.’
    • ‘From time-to-time, an unevenness in tone is evident, as the movie swerves between bawdy farce and melodrama.’
    • ‘But when he hits the frightening climax, the camera swerves at dizzying angles, the sound desynchs, and the makeup and sets become highly expressionistic.’
    • ‘A gust of wind comes up; the balloon swerves out over the street and bounces off a parked car.’
    • ‘Aircraft swerves, departs runway and is destroyed after flipping over.’
    • ‘She was kept in jail for several hours by LA cops after they spotted her pick-up truck swerving wildly on the freeway out of the city.’
    • ‘For at least five minutes, it dips and swerves and revels in front of us, disappearing out of sight for seconds and then zipping back into view from nowhere.’
    • ‘Ronaldo gets the ball 25 yards out but his shot swerves high and wide.’
    • ‘He said his wife had tried to get help by stopping passing cars but one had swerved around her.’
    • ‘The ball swerves in the air a la Roberto Carlos and is in all the way, but Marcos fingertips the ball onto the right-hand post.’
    • ‘Because the car is out of control, the bus swerves to avoid it.’
    • ‘Much of the book swerves from the Russian novelist to the Australian writer's own life to big ideas.’
    veer, change direction, go off course, deviate, skew, diverge, sheer, curve, twist, weave, zigzag, turn aside, branch off, sidetrack
    View synonyms


  • 1An abrupt change of direction.

    ‘do not make sudden swerves, particularly around parked vehicles’
    • ‘Emergency swerves to avoid a crash can themselves lead to rollover accidents.’
    • ‘When garbage contains hard objects, it can contribute more directly to accidents by causing damage to vehicles, punctures or dangerous swerves.’
    • ‘It's becoming one of the great sights in the game, watching the young Portuguese international marauding down the wing spilling out tricks and swerves in a manner not dissimilar to a certain Irishman in the 60s.’
    • ‘Lunge Turns are great for making hard swerves in a fast-moving game of hockey or in an emergency situation.’
    • ‘So Dad and I got to go down this amazing blue run with great hills and swerves.’
    • ‘The two drivers had blasted away from the rest at the start, with Hakkinen getting the best of the German, despite one of Schumacher's famous start line swerves.’
    • ‘The tall and rather narrow little car could not cope with sudden swerves.’
    • ‘There are too many plot twists that are too incredible and, once all the swerves are added up, that don't matter.’
    • ‘Being world class is not just holding glittering events but roads on which traffic can move at an average and safe speed of at least 40 kmph. without frequent swerves and stops to avoid potholes.’
    • ‘Didactic tendencies are continually being subverted by swerves, qualifications, and context.’
    • ‘Audacious loops, bends and swerves are undertaken at astonishing speed and with awesome precision.’
    • ‘But its slices of summery California melody are so well-executed it's easy to forgive the disc's occasional swerves into syrupy sentiment.’
    1. 1.1[mass noun]Divergence from a straight course imparted to a ball or other object, especially in soccer, cricket, or snooker.
      • ‘His right foot shot was delivered with pace, swerve and accuracy and although Stevie Woods put hand to it, the ball was knocked down only to the goal line where Greg Strong was able to clear.’
      • ‘There was no pause for consideration about what he intended to do, hitting the ball crisply and with swerve from his right foot, the ball bending past the despairing dive of Arthur and tucking inside his right-hand post.’
      • ‘It's got bend and swerve, but - as it nears the goal - it's palmed away by the Chelsea keeper.’
      • ‘He has accuracy and the ability to make the ball dip and swerve or whatever is needed.’
      • ‘But no one was calling for a penalty when Pryce came out of nowhere to collect the ball, swerve round the last man and dive over between the sticks.’
      • ‘He modelled the way he bends the ball on Beckham; the same spin and swerve from set pieces.’
      • ‘The swerve on the ball took it into the no-man's land between goalkeeper and defence, but Sloan had failed to track the run of Lasley.’
      • ‘I remember Steve Davis explaining how Higgins used body action to put swerve on a ball.’
      • ‘Its main benefit is helping viewers to understand matches by showing placement, bounce, speed and swerve of the ball during play.’
      • ‘There is, for a start, the little matter of flight, which often contains an element of swerve in the last few feet.’
      • ‘The winger, a product of York's powerful junior section, took his chance with pace, swerve and strength but Ford could not make the conversion.’
      curve, curl, bend, deviation, twist, change of direction
      View synonyms


Old English sweorfan ‘depart, leave, turn aside’, of Germanic origin; related to Middle Dutch swerven to stray.