divagate was our Word of the Day on 08/03/2008. Hear the podcast!
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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").
Origin and Etymology of divagate
Late Latin divagatus, past participle of divagari, from Latin dis- + vagari to wander — more at vagary
First Known Use: 1599
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