Meaning of “avoid” in the English Dictionary

"avoid" in British English

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avoidverb [ T ]

uk /əˈvɔɪd/ us /əˈvɔɪd/

B1 to stay away from someone or something:

I try to avoid supermarkets on Saturdays - they're always so busy.
I'm anxious to avoid the motorway at rush hour.
Do you think Lukas is avoiding me? I haven't seen him all day.

B2 to prevent something from happening or to not allow yourself to do something:

[ + -ing verb ] I try to avoid going shopping on Saturdays.
The report studiously avoided any mention of the controversial plan.
The plane narrowly avoided disaster when one of the engines cut out on take-off.
I left the pub to avoid a fight (= prevent a fight from happening).
Unnecessary paperwork should be avoided (= prevented) at all costs.

More examples

  • If we set off early tomorrow morning we'll avoid most of the traffic.
  • The bus driver swerved to avoid hitting the cyclists.
  • We need to examine how an accident like this can be avoided in the future.
  • Try to avoid foods which contain a lot of fat.
  • He took a different route which avoids the city centre.

(Definition of “avoid” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"avoid" in American English

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avoidverb [ T ]

us /əˈvɔɪd/

to stay away from someone or something, or prevent something from happening, or not allow yourself to do something:

Do you think Robert is avoiding me? I haven’t seen him for a month.
I try to avoid going shopping on Saturdays because the stores are so crowded.
If you want to lose weight, avoid eating between meals.
avoidance
noun [ U ] us /əˈvɔɪ·dəns/

The avoidance of injury is more important than winning a game.

(Definition of “avoid” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"avoid" in Business English

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avoidverb [ T ]

uk /əˈvɔɪd/ us

to try to prevent something bad from happening:

A spokeswoman for the company said it was hoping to avoid industrial action.
Understanding differing viewpoints is a good start toward avoiding conflict in the workplace.

to try not to do something, or to try to stay away from something:

The government avoided the mistakes they made in the past.
avoid doing sth Credit cards can be a source of free credit if you can organize payments within the stipulated time limits, so as to avoid paying interest.

(Definition of “avoid” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)