di·​ver·​sion | \ də-ˈvər-zhən How to pronounce diversion (audio) , 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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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 Because juvenile cases are sealed, there is no way to know how the citations were resolved, although there are other, less punitive outcomes available, including probation, diversion programs and community service. Bethany Mollenkof, ProPublica, 29 Sep. 2021 State law says that diversion programs must enter student information into a state website so that police can see if a child committed a crime on campus but wasn’t arrested. Scott Travis, sun-sentinel.com, 28 Sep. 2021 The Oregon Health Authority has proposed that the hospital be approved but only if its owners agree to dedicate 45% of its beds to mentally ill patients who have been committed, or are in custody or in diversion programs. oregonlive, 30 Aug. 2021 Are there any other eviction diversion programs immediately available to help me? Binghui Huang, The Indianapolis Star, 28 Aug. 2021 Some communities are creating eviction diversion programs, which encourage mediation between the landlord and tenant before evictions can proceed. Anna Bahney, CNN, 27 Aug. 2021 Emphasis was put on diversion programs that can stop evictions early, keep cases out of court and allow more time for rental assistance to move through the system. Washington Post, 7 July 2021 Ford later added that the department is looking to add more ambulances, in addition to its diversion programs. Phil Davis, baltimoresun.com, 7 June 2021 Juvenile Court focuses on rehabilitation over punishment, and diversion programs already exist. Teri Figueroa, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 May 2021

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

Middle English dyversioun "process of diverting superfluous humors," borrowed from Late Latin dīversiōn-, dīversiō "turning away," from Latin dīvertere "to separate oneself (from), be different" and dēvertere "to turn away, divert" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at divert

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Time Traveler for diversion

Time Traveler

The first known use of diversion was in 1600

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Last Updated

13 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Diversion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diversion. Accessed 15 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for diversion



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 How to pronounce diversion (audio) , 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- How to pronounce diversion (audio) \

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-​ How to pronounce diversion (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on diversion

Nglish: Translation of diversion for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of diversion for Arabic Speakers


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