di·​verge də-ˈvərj How to pronounce diverge (audio)
diverged; diverging

intransitive verb

: to move or extend in different directions from a common point : draw apart
diverging roads
: to become or be different in character or form
The friends' lives diverged after graduation.
: differ in opinion
This is where our views diverge.
: to turn aside from a path or course : deviate
diverge from a direct path
mathematics : to be divergent (see divergent sense 2)

transitive verb

: deflect
diverge a compass needle
Choose the Right Synonym for diverge

swerve, veer, deviate, depart, digress, diverge mean to turn aside from a straight course.

swerve may suggest a physical, mental, or moral turning away from a given course, often with abruptness.

swerved to avoid hitting the dog

veer implies a major change in direction.

at that point the path veers to the right

deviate implies a turning from a customary or prescribed course.

never deviated from her daily routine

depart suggests a deviation from a traditional or conventional course or type.

occasionally departs from his own guidelines

digress applies to a departing from the subject of one's discourse.

a professor prone to digress

diverge may equal depart but usually suggests a branching of a main path into two or more leading in different directions.

after school their paths diverged

Example Sentences

A prism causes rays of light to diverge. They were close friends in college, but after graduation, their lives diverged.
Recent Examples on the Web Investments in clean energy and fossil fuels were largely neck-and-neck in the years leading up to the pandemic, but have diverged sharply since. Will Horner, WSJ, 25 May 2023 Elizabeth’s and Charles’ lives and temperaments diverged from an early age. Los Angeles Times, 4 May 2023 Thus, an isotopic comparison of Europa to one or both of the outermost moons could finally reveal the truth about how these satellites diverged from their common origins. Nola Taylor Tillman, Scientific American, 24 Apr. 2023 The Hang Seng and Hang Seng Tech indexes diverged to close +0.14% and -0.09%, respectively, overnight on volume that increased +2% from yesterday. Brendan Ahern, Forbes, 20 Apr. 2023 Evolutionary and genetic analysis suggests that the human virus diverged from the bird virus several hundred years ago. John V. Williams, CBS News, 12 Apr. 2023 From this point, their fates diverge, at least temporarily. Alida Becker, New York Times, 30 Mar. 2023 Once two biological populations are separated and can no longer interbreed, their genomes increasingly diverge over time. Byjoshua Sokol, science.org, 27 Mar. 2023 And, unsurprisingly, experts are finding gaps where these models diverge from how humans read. Max G. Levy, Quanta Magazine, 12 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'diverge.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from Latin dīvergere "to proceed in different directions," from dī-, variant before voiced sounds of dis- dis- + vergere "to move downward, slope downward, sink" — more at verge entry 3

Note: The verb dīvergere, attested once in classical Latin, is rare before later medieval and modern Latin, where it appears in scientific and mathematical texts, often as an antonym of convergere "to converge."

First Known Use

1665, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of diverge was in 1665

Dictionary Entries Near diverge

Cite this Entry

“Diverge.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diverge. Accessed 4 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


di·​verge də-ˈvərj How to pronounce diverge (audio)
diverged; diverging
: to move or extend in different directions from a common point : draw apart
diverging rays of light
two roads diverged

More from Merriam-Webster on diverge

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