1580s, "to change direction" (originally of the wind; 1610s of a ship), from Middle French virer "to turn" (12c.), of uncertain origin, perhaps (Diez) from the Latin stem vir- in viriae (plural) "bracelets." Gamillscheg finds von Wartburg's derivation of it from a Vulgar Latin contraction of Latin vibrare "to shake" to be nicht möglich. Related: veered, veering.
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