Definition of yaw in US English:



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  • (of a moving ship or aircraft) twist or oscillate about a vertical axis.

    with adverbial of direction ‘the jet yawed sharply to the right’
    • ‘Lauren watched in satisfaction as the Mainstay yawed and shook, heavily damaged.’
    • ‘Coming out of 2,000 feet and decelerating through 180 knots, the jet yawed so much to the left that I felt it was on the verge of departing controlled flight.’
    • ‘I was in a 90-degree-AOB left turn and 40 degrees nose low when the aircraft suddenly yawed to 75 degrees nose low.’
    • ‘The aircraft reversed yawed to the right where his wingman was maintaining position on the runway.’
    • ‘Doremi was at the stern of a large ship that yawed back and forth as it sailed through a storm-tossed sea.’
    • ‘The wind, sea and swell were of no significance force in the context of the collision save perhaps that each vessel would yaw slightly.’
    • ‘The shuttle yawed to the right, nosing downward.’
    • ‘Once again out over the chilly Atlantic, I slowed the jet to 180 knots, and immediately the jet yawed to the left, followed by an immediate yaw to the right and then back to the left.’
    • ‘Roll, pitch, and yaw to starboard were all unaffected, she just couldn't yaw to port!’
    • ‘The Utopian ship yawed hard to port in an attempt to evade the incoming ordnance.’
    • ‘The lance punched through the straining blue, tearing vast holes in it as the vessel yawed from side to side.’
    • ‘After initiating brake actuation, the aircraft yawed to the right, and he ceased braking action to analyze the situation.’
    • ‘On first glance, this indicates that the prime mover would have been yawing to the left quite rapidly even though the test section was straight.’
    • ‘The aircraft yawed as hits were taken in the left R - 2600 which burst into flames.’
    • ‘The pleasant rocking of the boat was replaced by a Perfect Storm pitching and yawing.’
    • ‘However, when the flaps were lowered to half, the aircraft yawed to the left, and the nose pitched up.’
    • ‘There's no new insight into the cause of the failure of the port wing, but Oberg spells out just why some analysts think it's plausible that the crew lived through the minute or so after the shuttle started to yaw to port.’
    • ‘Another Spit pauses from dogfighting long enough to lend a bomber a plume before yawing away to rejoin its group.’
    • ‘Yes it does, but it is also yawing about, like the Airborne C2 did for me.’
    • ‘The galleon yawed, gouts of flame pouring from her perforated hull.’
    swerve, swing, veer, slew, skew, change course, drift
    View synonyms


  • A twisting or oscillation of a moving ship or aircraft around a vertical axis.

    • ‘The BEA in its interim report maintains that the leftward yaw was caused not by incorrectly assembled landing gear but by loss of thrust from the number-one and two engines.’
    • ‘Operating the ailerons causes an effect called adverse yaw.’
    • ‘As the hook engaged the wire, I countered the right yaw with rudder and kept the right wing off the deck for as long as I could.’
    • ‘And while this yaw may cause a kayaker to feel off-kilter, a boat designed to turn less easily would be more suited to carrying freight than negotiating Class V rapids or rough seas.’
    • ‘The automatic flight control system has a Stability Control Augmentation System with fail passive four-axis control of pitch, roll, yaw and collective.’
    • ‘Aloft upon the mast, the figure stood, uncompromising to the gale and pitch and yaw of the ship.’
    • ‘The severe yaw into the dead engine will cause the pilot to hold a significant amount of opposite rudder to compensate.’
    • ‘This system is designed to compensate for wind and heel and control roll, yaw and surge.’
    • ‘I had a sharp starboard yaw with an ‘engine right, engine right’ voice alert.’
    • ‘This will reduce your adverse yaw and improve your single-engine handling characteristics.’
    • ‘One could surely demonstrate yaw with engine failure since the props didn't feather.’
    • ‘Her parley had trailed into long, idle hours, and their speech was often punctuated with the raucous clatter of several bottles of rum and stale wine rolling to and fro in the pitch and yaw of the anchored ship.’
    • ‘The strange characteristic about an inverted spin, according to one pilot, is that yaw is opposite to roll and can be quite disorienting.’
    • ‘When an engine quits, reduce the power on the live engine and correct yaw with ard opposite rudder; then increase power as much as you can hold.’
    • ‘Also monitored on many systems is yaw, an aspect of aircraft technology automakers have learned from.’
    • ‘Avoid adverse yaw by allowing the ailerons to streamline when there's no crosswind present.’
    • ‘In straight and level flight, it's not so bad, but in turbulence or in turns, that yaw starts up and it takes some concentration to get it stopped.’
    • ‘The violent left yaw became more pronounced as the aircraft slowed and the decreasing lift placed more weight on the landing gear assembly.’
    • ‘The pilot can control roll, tipping the wings; pitch, raising and lowering the nose; and yaw, rotating the aircraft as though it were turning left or right while still on the ground.’
    • ‘Concomitant development of a long tail would be important to damp lateral oscillation and control yaw associated with pelvic paddling.’


Mid 16th century: of unknown origin.