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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English swerven, swarven, from Old English sweorfan ‎(to file; rub; polish; scour; turn aside), from Proto-Germanic *swerbaną ‎(to rub off; wipe; mop), from Proto-Indo-European *swerbʰ- ‎(to turn; wipe; sweep). Cognate with West Frisian swerve ‎(to wander; roam; swerve), Dutch zwerven ‎(to wander; stray; roam), Low German swarven ‎(to swerve; wander; riot), Swedish dialectal svärva ‎(to wipe), Icelandic sverfa ‎(to file).



swerve ‎(third-person singular simple present swerves, present participle swerving, simple past and past participle swerved)

  1. (archaic) To stray; to wander; to rove.
    • Sir Philip Sidney
      A maid thitherward did run, / To catch her sparrow which from her did swerve.
  2. To go out of a straight line; to deflect.
    • Sir Philip Sidney
      The point [of the sword] swerved.
  3. To wander from any line prescribed, or from a rule or duty; to depart from what is established by law, duty, custom, or the like; to deviate.
    • Book of Common Prayer
      I swerve not from thy commandments.
    • Clarendon
      They swerve from the strict letter of the law.
    • Atterbury
      many who, through the contagion of evil example, swerve exceedingly from the rules of their holy religion
  4. To bend; to incline.
    • Milton
      The battle swerved.
  5. To climb or move upward by winding or turning.
    • Dryden
      The tree was high; / Yet nimbly up from bough to bough I swerved.
  6. To turn aside or deviate to avoid impact.
  7. of a projectile, to travel in a curved line
    • 2011 January 8, Chris Bevan, “Arsenal 1 - 1 Leeds”, in BBC[1]:
      Snodgrass also saw a free-kick swerve just wide before Arsenal, with Walcott and Fabregas by now off the bench, turned their vastly superior possession into chances in the closing moments

Related terms[edit]


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