"Steer clear" is a figure of speech that means "avoid". It is typically used with regards to some sort of obstacle. The phrase was first used in print by Daniel Defoe in 1723 in The History and Remarkable Life of the Truly Honourable Colonel Jacque. In it, Defoe says, "We would have steered clear of them, and cared not to have them see us, if we could help it, but they did see us, and cried, who comes there?"

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