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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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 Phoenix, Maricopa County District Attorney Bill Montgomery said his office is also sending people to diversion programs and working with community and victims groups to stop crime. Lindsay Whitehurst, Fox News, "Prosecutors looking beyond courtroom amid reform, scrutiny," 28 Sep. 2018 The money comes from a .5% diversion of revenues coming into the Great Lakes Water Authority, authority officials said. Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, "Free toilets for Detroiters could mean cleaner water in Great Lakes," 14 May 2018 The discharge to the river, known as return flow, was required by the eight Great Lakes states as part of their 2016 approval of this first-ever diversion of lake water to a community located entirely outside of the Great Lakes basin. Don Behm, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Waukesha alerts hundreds of property owners in three communities to field work along route of lake diversion pipeline," 23 Apr. 2018 So far this month, the hospital emergency department has been on diversion for ambulances 13 percent of the time. Shari Rudavsky, Indianapolis Star, "What you need to know about this year's severe flu season," 24 Jan. 2018 While the city has dollars set aside for diversion, the audit found there was no explicit connection between those resources and Navigation Team clients — something the report recommends should change. Vernal Coleman, The Seattle Times, "Seattle city auditor report calls for increasing shelter space for homeless people," 2 Oct. 2018 These sorts of artificial dreamscapes have long fascinated pop culture, which often envisions that high-fidelity VR will be used for fun—and more sinister forms of diversion. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Westworld’s Virtual Afterlife Might Not Be Fiction," 27 June 2018 In internal meetings this year, Founders Fund partners debated what to do about the diversion of SpaceX resources. Rob Copeland, WSJ, "Elon Musk’s New Boring Co. Faced Questions Over SpaceX Financial Ties," 17 Dec. 2018 For the first few days, that can feel like forced relaxation, especially on river cruise ships, which don’t have the seemingly endless diversions that ocean cruise ships have, like pools, spas, and fitness centers. Krisanne Fordham, Condé Nast Traveler, "Wine Cruises Might Be the Best Way to See Wine Country," 28 Nov. 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

3 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for diversion

The first known use of diversion was in 1600

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More Definitions for diversion



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 , 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

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