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."

Primary Meanings of avoid

stay clear from; keep away from; keep out of the way of someone or something
declare invalid
Full Definitions of avoid

v stay clear from; keep away from; keep out of the way of someone or something

“Her former friends now avoid her”
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

v 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

v refrain from certain foods or beverages

“During Ramadan, Muslims avoid tobacco during the day”
keep off
Type of:
abstain, desist, refrain
choose not to consume

v prevent the occurrence of; prevent from happening

“Let's avoid a confrontation”
avert, debar, deflect, fend off, forefend, forfend, head off, obviate, stave off, ward off
Type of:
forbid, foreclose, forestall, preclude, prevent
keep from happening or arising; make impossible

v declare invalid

annul, invalidate, nullify, quash, void
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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