di·ver·sion | \də-ˈvər-zhən, dī-, -shən\

Definition of diversion 

1 : the act or an instance of diverting or straying from a course, activity, or use : deviation Bad weather forced the diversion of several flights.

2 : something that diverts or amuses : pastime Hiking is one of her favorite diversions. a welcome diversion from the pressures of the job

3 : an attack or feint that draws the attention and force of an enemy from the point of the principal operation You create a diversion while I sneak inside the building.

4 British : a temporary traffic detour

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Synonyms & Antonyms for diversion


delight, distraction, entertainment, fun, pleasure, recreation


bore, bummer, downer, drag

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Examples of diversion in a Sentence

small diversions of river water for irrigation Hiking is one of my favorite diversions. Our town offers few diversions. Sports provide him with a welcome diversion from the pressures of his job. He created a diversion while his partner stole her pocketbook.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Among other queries, McCaskill asked Teva and other drug companies about any internal programs to stop drug diversion or investigate suspicious transactions between drug distributors and pharmacies. Deirdre Shesgreen, USA TODAY, "Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill says drug giant is "stonewalling" her opioid investigation," 6 Mar. 2018 The Monitor is following three mothers whose lives are touched by Mr. Kaiser’s philanthropy, from quality daycares and early-reading classes to prison-diversion programs and family planning. Simon Montlake, The Christian Science Monitor, "For three families, Tulsa experiment offers chance to grasp American dream," 3 July 2018 However, drug diversion also happens with many other kinds of drugs, including ADHD medicines and opioids. The Economist, "High and mighty," 21 June 2018 United said the pet was delivered safely to its owner and all the customers on board received compensation for the diversion. CBS News, "United flight diverted after dog loaded onto wrong flight, airline says," 17 Mar. 2018 There’s also a mozzarella bar, and for those who prefer stronger diversions, pineapple daiquiris and bottled Negronis. Kara Baskin, BostonGlobe.com, "Michael Schlow cooks up a taste of the Mediterranean at Eataly," 5 July 2018 The cocktails were fun diversions, but the wines deserve the spotlight. Kate Washington, sacbee, "If Allora can learn to relax a little, it will be one of the city's best restaurants | The Sacramento Bee," 11 May 2018 The distribution executives also said their companies have stepped up their anti-diversion programs to keep prescription medicines from ending up in the wrong hands. Michael Collins, USA TODAY, "Opioid distributor apologizes for shipping large volumes of painkillers to West Virginia," 8 May 2018 Damming, diversion, pollution, and overpumping have long degraded the state of America’s rivers, reducing clean rushing waterways into canals with as much wildness as a pet store. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "‘Like Floating Through a Library’: An Interview with Nick Paumgarten," 7 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'diversion.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of diversion

1600, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for diversion

see diverse

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Statistics for diversion

Last Updated

13 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for diversion

The first known use of diversion was in 1600

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English Language Learners Definition of diversion

: the act of changing the direction or use of something : the act of diverting something

: something that people do because it is enjoyable, entertaining, or pleasant

: something that takes attention away from what is happening


di·ver·sion | \də-ˈvər-zhən, dī-\

Kids Definition of diversion

1 : an act or instance of changing the direction or use of diversion of the river

2 : something that relaxes, distracts, or entertains The city offers many diversions for visitors.


di·ver·sion | \də-ˈvər-zhən, dī- \

Legal Definition of diversion 

: the act or an instance of diverting: as

a : an unauthorized rerouting or appropriation diversion of funds

b : suspension of the prosecution of a charge for a period of time during which the defendant participates in a rehabilitation program or makes restitution and after which the charges are dismissed if the rehabilitation or restitution is completed — compare probation

Other Words from diversion

diversionary \-ˈvər-zhə-ˌner-ē, -shə- \ adjective

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Comments on diversion

What made you want to look up diversion? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

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