Definition of navigation in US English:



  • 1The process or activity of accurately ascertaining one's position and planning and following a route.

    • ‘There are plenty of hands-on activities, covering all aspects of seamanship, including navigation, weather forecasting and ship-handling.’
    • ‘There were quite a few parallel paths, which made navigation more difficult.’
    • ‘The pair, who were good friends, shared an interest in air navigation.’
    • ‘Reliable in-car navigation only becomes possible with high position accuracy combined with an up-to-date map database.’
    • ‘The ship will be fitted with air/surface search and navigation radars.’
    • ‘Inside is a guidance control unit with inertial navigation and global positioning systems.’
    • ‘In addition, atom lasers may yield extremely precise gyroscope navigation for air and space travel.’
    • ‘However, the mountain range was not on the navigation charts used by the US Navy.’
    • ‘Phoenix will be used as a demonstrator for the autonomous navigation and flight-control system used for the final approach and landing of the unmanned vehicle.’
    • ‘The war bred clever innovation in radar systems, navigation aids and bomb sites.’
    • ‘He made systematic astronomical observations on his voyage which provided important navigation charts to later explorers.’
    • ‘For the first millennium of mankind's navigation of the seas, we only skimmed the surface.’
    • ‘Now, here as elsewhere, they carry machetes, automatic weapons and navigation equipment.’
    • ‘It is equipped with a global positioning system navigation system.’
    • ‘The launcher unit is equipped with an onboard land navigation system.’
    • ‘Precise land navigation in any weather by day or night will be as commonplace as the exact time.’
    • ‘Now, Global Positioning Systems and satellite navigation are more accurate and widely available.’
    • ‘The aircraft has state-of-the-art flight deck, avionics and navigation equipment.’
    • ‘While on the route, the aircraft practice visual low-level navigation, simulated threat reactions and simulated target attacks.’
    • ‘The locations of the mines were then confirmed using underwater navigation and communications technology.’
    • ‘The system also provides flight control and navigation data intended for mission specific systems and equipment.’
    • ‘Its flight control, navigation and vehicle management are independent and based on a mission plan.’
    • ‘Environmental and weather conditions must be right, and flight planning and navigation must be precise.’
    helmsmanship, steersmanship, seamanship, map-reading, chart-reading, wayfinding
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  • 2The passage of ships.

    ‘bridges to span rivers without hindering navigation’
    • ‘Sometimes a third party such a harbour pilot is at fault, or a navigation authority.’
    • ‘"Inland navigation keeps traffic off our highways and affects commerce, " he says.’
    • ‘These structures enable the Corps to control the rivers for navigation and flood prevention.’
    • ‘Inland water navigation offers considerable economic and ecological advantages over other forms of transport in many areas and industries.’
    • ‘The emphasis is on railway transport, river navigation receiving less attention.’
    • ‘Keelboat and steamboat navigation was always treacherous, and with the arrival of railroads, river transportation became unimportant.’
    • ‘As we have seen, however, the practical exercise of a right to arrest ships in passage poses serious dangers to navigation, and it is rarely used as a means of enforcing anti-pollution regulations.’
    • ‘These were sold to the United States in 1904, but it was not until 1914 that the Panama Canal was opened for navigation.’
    • ‘Last year 800,000 people visited and basic navigation is still essential to trade, tourism and sport.’
    • ‘It did prove that the river was suitable for navigation and Randell sold his cargo of flour and Cadell brought 4,000 bales of wool back on his return journey.’
    • ‘In that case a vessel sank through the negligence of her owners in the River Dee obstructing navigation.’
    • ‘On Wednesday, the ministers signed two agreements - on sea navigation and air transport.’
    • ‘Secondly it enables the authority to raise much-needed revenue towards the cost of maintaining the river for public navigation.’
    • ‘This maneuver opened the river to navigation farther upstream and stopped the overflow of water into the lake.’
    • ‘Rivers were open to ship navigation at that time.’
    • ‘Humber Pilots Ltd, the organisation that handled river navigation until a row over terms led to strike action and the end of their contract, said the incident could have had horrendous repercussions.’
    • ‘The first four conditions were designed to avoid conflict between competing landowners and to keep at least part of the river open to navigation and upstream fishermen.’
    • ‘He intended to do this prior to the seasonal cessation of river navigation due to winter and the expedition's retirement to a wintering ground.’
    • ‘Inland navigation also plays an important role in the transport of dangerous goods including petroleum products and liquefied gas.’
    • ‘The freeze could hurt the ability of Russia's largest shipping firm, to export oil once rivers reopen for navigation in the spring, the company warned.’


Early 16th century (denoting travel on water): from French, or from Latin navigatio(n-), from the verb navigare (see navigate).