tr.v. a·void·ed, a·void·ing, a·voids
a. To stay clear of; go around or away from: swerve to avoid a pothole.
b. To take measures so as not to meet or see (someone): "He never let go of the idea that she lived out there in order to avoid him" (Elizabeth Benedict).
2. To prevent from happening: You can avoid illness with exercise and a balanced diet.
a. To refrain from using, engaging in, or partaking of: avoid red meat; avoid risky behavior.
b. To refrain from (doing something): It was all we could do to avoid laughing at the remark.
4. Law To annul or make void; invalidate.
5. Obsolete To void or expel.
[Middle English avoiden, from Anglo-Norman avoider, to empty out, variant of Old French esvuidier : es-, out (from Latin ex-; see EX-) + vuidier, to empty (from voide, empty; see VOID).]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.