If you avoid drinking coffee right before bed because it tends to keep you awake and makes you jittery, that means that you stay away from coffee at night.

The verb avoid means to stop yourself from doing something or to keep something from happening. You might avoid the old lady next door who smells funny and always wants to pinch your cheek, or you could avoid a certain dangerous neighborhood in your city by taking a different route when you're walking home. It's easy to get avoid confused with a similar word, evade, which means "to avoid in a particularly tricky or sneaky way."

Definitions of avoid
  1. verb
    stay clear from; keep away from; keep out of the way of someone or something
    “Her former friends now avoid her”
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    confront, face, face up
    deal with (something unpleasant) head on
    confront, face, present
    present somebody with something, usually to accuse or criticize
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    circumvent, dodge, duck, elude, evade, fudge, hedge, parry, put off, sidestep, skirt
    avoid or try to avoid fulfilling, answering, or performing (duties, questions, or issues)
    escape, miss
    fail to experience
    escape, get away, get by, get off, get out
    escape potentially unpleasant consequences; get away with a forbidden action
    bypass, get around, go around, short-circuit
    avoid something unpleasant or laborious
    keep off, stay off
    refrain from entering or walking onto
    avoid dealing with
    shy away from
    avoid having to deal with some unpleasant task
    eschew, shun
    avoid and stay away from deliberately; stay clear of
    dodge, avoid answering, or take for granted
    evade the truth of a point or question by raising irrelevant objections
    use cunning or deceit to escape or avoid
  2. verb
    refrain from doing something
    “He should avoid publishing his wife's memories”
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    fiddle, goldbrick, shirk, shrink from
    avoid (one's assigned duties)
    British military language: avoid work
    malinger, skulk
    avoid responsibilities and duties, e.g., by pretending to be ill
    avoid responsibilities and work, be idle
  3. verb
    refrain from certain foods or beverages
    “During Ramadan, Muslims avoid tobacco during the day”
    synonyms: keep off
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    type of:
    abstain, desist, refrain
    choose not to partake in or consume
  4. verb
    prevent the occurrence of; prevent from happening
    “Let's avoid a confrontation”
    synonyms: avert, debar, deflect, fend off, forefend, forfend, head off, obviate, stave off, ward off
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    type of:
    forbid, foreclose, forestall, preclude, preempt, prevent
    keep from happening or arising; make impossible
  5. verb
    declare invalid
    synonyms: annihilate, annul, invalidate, nullify, quash, void
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    formalise, formalize, validate
    declare or make legally valid
    invalidate by judicial action
    printing: cancel, as of a correction or deletion
    type of:
    cancel, strike down
    declare null and void; make ineffective
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