Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To stay clear of; shun. See Synonyms at escape.
  • transitive v. To keep from happening: avoid illness with rest and a balanced diet.
  • transitive v. Law To annul or make void; invalidate.
  • transitive v. Obsolete To void or expel.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To keep away from; to keep clear of; to endeavor not to meet; to shun; to abstain from; as, to avoid the company of gamesters.
  • v. To make empty; to clear.
  • v. To make void, to annul; to refute (especially a contract).
  • v. To defeat or evade; to invalidate. Thus, in a replication, the plaintiff may deny the defendant's plea, or confess it, and avoid it by stating new matter.
  • v. To emit or throw out; to void; as, to avoid excretions.
  • v. To leave, evacuate; to leave as empty, to withdraw or come away from.
  • v. (obsolete) To get rid of.
  • v. To retire; to withdraw, depart, go away.
  • v. (obsolete) To become void or vacant.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To retire; to withdraw.
  • intransitive v. To become void or vacant.
  • transitive v. To empty.
  • transitive v. To emit or throw out; to void.
  • transitive v. To quit or evacuate; to withdraw from.
  • transitive v. To make void; to annul or vacate; to refute.
  • transitive v. To keep away from; to keep clear of; to endeavor no to meet; to shun; to abstain from.
  • transitive v. To get rid of.
  • transitive v. To defeat or evade; to invalidate. Thus, in a replication, the plaintiff may deny the defendant's plea, or confess it, and avoid it by stating new matter.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To make void; annul; make of no effect: chiefly used in legal phraseology: as, this grant cannot be avoided without injustice to the grantee.
  • To empty.
  • To eject; throw out; drive out.
  • To quit; evacuate; depart from.
  • To shun; keep away from; eschew: as, to avoid expense, danger, or bad company.
  • To get rid of; get out or clear of.
  • Synonyms To escape, elude, evade, keep clear of.
  • To become void, vacant, or empty.
  • To retire; withdraw.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. prevent the occurrence of; prevent from happening
  • v. stay clear from; keep away from; keep out of the way of someone or something
  • v. refrain from certain foods or beverages
  • v. declare invalid
  • v. refrain from doing something

Etymologies

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).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English avoiden, from Anglo-Norman avoider, Old French esvuidier ("to empty out"), from es- + vuidier, from Latin viduare ("to empty"), from viduus ("empty"); see void. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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