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 In 2011, after the City Council made marijuana possession a municipal offense, Sens created a diversion program that let defendants leave without a conviction. Matt Sledge, NOLA.com, "New Orleans Judge Paul Sens faces rare challenge from public defender in Nov. 3 election," 27 Sep. 2020 But a diversion program started the following academic year by school safety chief and former Philadelphia Police Deputy Commissioner Kevin Bethel helped change that. CBS News, "Should police be in schools? How arrests in Philadelphia's school district dropped by 84% in 5 years," 8 Sep. 2020 The audit offered a number of recommendations, including expanding drug treatment programs at the D.C. jail and using court diversion programs to keep people from being incarcerated in the first place. Washington Post, "How a D.C. sex worker became the face of a city report on drug treatment failures," 4 Sep. 2020 Still, the business of large-scale water diversion would not be that simple. Yxta Maya Murray, Longreads, "Fire/Flood: A Southern California Pastoral," 19 Aug. 2020 Today, the topic of lava diversion is controversial. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian Magazine, "Found: Two Bombs From 1935 Stuck in Hawai’i Volcano," 17 Mar. 2020 Markasa Tucker, director of the African-American Roundtable, has been a leader in the call for a diversion of $75 million from the Police Department. Alison Dirr, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Residents speak their minds about police funding, services as city and county brace for a budget crunch," 9 Sep. 2020 Court diversion programs, which try to route addicts and the mentally ill into treatment, have shown a propensity to accept more white people than Black people, Vinson said. Gary Craig, USA TODAY, "Will police be charged in Daniel Prude's death? This evidence may be the deciding factor," 7 Sep. 2020 But the attack would merely be a diversion so that the employee could install a data-stealing malware program on Tesla's network. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "The FBI broke up a Russian hacker plot to extort millions from Tesla," 28 Aug. 2020

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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Statistics for diversion

Last Updated

30 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Diversion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diversion. Accessed 22 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for diversion


How to pronounce diversion (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of diversion

formal : the act of changing the direction or use of something : the act of diverting something
formal : 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 diversionary (audio) \ adjective

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Comments on diversion

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