Swerve Swerve, v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Swerved}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Swerving}.] [OE. swerven, AS. sweorfan to wipe off, to file, to polish; akin to OFries. swerva to creep, D. zwerven to swerve, to rope, OS. swerban to wipe off, MHG. swerben to be whirled, OHG. swerban to wipe off, Icel. sverfa to file, Goth. swa['i]rban (in comp.) to wipe, and perhaps to E. swarm. Cf. {Swarm}.] 1. To stray; to wander; to rope. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]

A maid thitherward did run, To catch her sparrow which from her did swerve. --Sir P. Sidney. [1913 Webster]

2. To go out of a straight line; to deflect. ``The point [of the sword] swerved.'' --Sir P. Sidney. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

I swerve not from thy commandments. --Bk. of Com. Prayer. [1913 Webster]

They swerve from the strict letter of the law. --Clarendon. [1913 Webster]

Many who, through the contagion of evil example, swerve exceedingly from the rules of their holy religion. --Atterbury. [1913 Webster]

4. To bend; to incline. ``The battle swerved.'' --Milton. [1913 Webster]

5. To climb or move upward by winding or turning. [1913 Webster]

The tree was high; Yet nimbly up from bough to bough I swerved. --Dryden. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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