To avert is to turn away or to prevent. You might avert your gaze or avert a disaster — either way, you are avoiding something.

The verb avert comes from Latin roots that mean "to turn away from." Averting has that sense of deflecting, turning away, or preventing something (usually bad) from happening. You might put salt on an icy sidewalk to avert accidents, or you might avert a toddler's meltdown by supplying a lollipop.

Definitions of avert
  1. verb
    turn away or aside
    “They averted their eyes when the King entered”
    synonyms: turn away
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    type of:
    change orientation or direction, also in the abstract sense
  2. verb
    prevent the occurrence of; prevent from happening
    avert a strike”
    synonyms: avoid, debar, deflect, fend off, forefend, forfend, head off, obviate, stave off, ward off
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    type of:
    forbid, foreclose, forestall, preclude, prevent
    keep from happening or arising; make impossible