While combing through an article I was proofreading, I came to a sentence:

"I slowly swerved towards Computer Science."

The sentiment that the sentence tries to convey is of a slow change towards computer science, but swerve means, according to the dictionary, a sudden/abrupt change in direction. Can anyone suggest a single word for a slow change in direction?

  • @Elasthiccgirl: OP needs a single word.
    – Ahmed
    Jun 24, 2018 at 6:23
  • 1
    I think shift would work
    – Ooker
    Jun 24, 2018 at 6:43
  • 2
    "gravitated towards"
    – Phil Sweet
    Jun 24, 2018 at 16:53
  • Please be clear, "proofreading" is solely about whether the final, printed version matches the original text… ie, spelling and nothing else; never. You're correct in that "slowly swerved' is contradictory but that’s nothing to do with “proofreading”. If you’re looking at editing, what makes you think "slowly" is correct and "swerved” wrong, please? Jun 24, 2018 at 23:11
  • @Robbie Goodwin I've just checked the normative definitions of 'proofread' in six reputable dictionaries. Your definition is offered in none of them. If it is a valid definition, it's domain-specific and needs flagging as such; OP is quite correct in using 'proofreading' as a synonym for 'looking [in texts] for items needing correction' here. Aug 16, 2019 at 17:56

4 Answers 4


I would recommend veer, hence:

I slowly veered towards Computer Science

Dictionary.com defines this as:

to change direction or turn about or aside; shift, turn, or change from one course, position, inclination, etc., to another

This definition does not indicate whether that change is rapid or slow.

Although other dictionaries such as OxfordDictionaries.com do indicate that the change of direction is sudden:

Change direction suddenly

personally I disagree with this interpretation.


‘Meander’ and ‘drift’ came to mind, though I feel they both imply a certain level of sluggishness or aimlessness without a clarifying adverb.

  • Yeah, they seem to imply a certain degree of aimlessness.
    – Breamhall
    Jun 25, 2018 at 7:00

When I studied the locomotion of the insect "catterpillar", I found it unique than rest of the animal's locomotions.

Catterpillars usually crawl. Merriam Webster defines the term crawl in the second sense:

  1. to go very slowly or carefully.

Thus, you can use the term "crawl" with the preposition "towards", in order to show the direction. As in:

  • I crawled towards Computer Science
  • What does locomotion mean?
    – Ooker
    Jun 24, 2018 at 6:42
  • @Ooker: According to the Oxford Dictionary, locomotion means the movement or the ability to move from one place to another.
    – Ahmed
    Jun 24, 2018 at 6:47

'Tread' carefully, tread is sometimes a slow word or means staying in place.

Also try 'slink' and 'shifted'.


'trudged', 'mucked' gradual, plodding, slack, creeping. inching along.

'about-face' is a change in direction in place. similar to shifted.

  • 1
    Hello, Nate. Please visit the Help Center for advice on how to give a good answer. Supporting evidence (with linked and attributed references where reasonable – here, dictionary definitions at the very least) is usually considered very important on ELU. Aug 16, 2019 at 18:02
  • Ok, Sure thanks.
    – JhoD668
    Aug 16, 2019 at 18:03

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