According to the dictionary, 退ける and どかす both mean "to move something out of the way". I was wondering if there were nuances between the two words in their usage. Also, I noticed 退ける can be pronounced both どける and のける. What are the differences between these three words? Feel free to provide examples if it is clearer. Thank you in advance for your explanation!
どかす sounds a bit dialectal to me. I myself tend to say どかす when I’m speaking in my dialect but どける in standard Japanese, meaning the same thing.
どかす is the short causative form of どく, the long one being どかせる. So you could use it for a person. For example, when you want to ask someone to tell another person to move out of your way, for example when you are shooting a video, you could tell them あの人どかして (or どかせて). Although it sounds pretty rude, it’s still less so than あの人どけて, in which case you would be treating the person completely as an object.
If I ever say のける, I would probably be referring to something smaller and the movement seems gentler. The focus seems to be more on the result of the object in question no longer being there rather than the (rather forceful) action of physically removing it as is the case with どける. When I’m speaking in my dialect, I might use it interchangeably with 除く or 抜く in the sense of excluding something, material or immaterial, from something. I don’t use どける or どかす in this sense.
These differences are subtle and there may also be regional differences. So other speakers may say different things.