di·​va·​gate | \ ˈdī-və-ˌgāt How to pronounce divagate (audio) , ˈdi- How to pronounce divagate (audio) \
divagated; divagating

Definition of divagate

intransitive verb

: to wander or stray from a course or subject : diverge, digress

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Other Words from divagate

divagation \ ˌdī-​və-​ˈgā-​shən How to pronounce divagate (audio) , ˌdi-​ \ noun

The Origin of Divagate

Divagate hasn't wandered far in meaning from its Latin ancestors. It descends from the verb "divagari," which comes from dis-, meaning "apart," and vagari, meaning "to wander." "Vagari" also gave us vagabond, meaning "a wanderer with no home," and "extravagant," an early, now archaic, sense of which was "wandering away." Latin vagari is also probably the source of our noun "vagary," which now usually means "whim or caprice" but originally meant "journey, excursion, or tour." Even the verb "stray" may have evolved from "vagari," by way of Vulgar Latin and Middle French. Today, "divagate" can suggest a wandering or straying that is literal (as in "the hikers divagated from the trail"), but it is more often used figuratively (as in "she tends to divagate from the subject").

First Known Use of divagate

1599, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for divagate

Late Latin divagatus, past participle of divagari, from Latin dis- + vagari to wander — more at vagary

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The first known use of divagate was in 1599

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Cite this Entry

“Divagate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/divagate. Accessed 28 Sep. 2021.

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