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 the solicitation case, Montague entered a diversion agreement in Topeka Municipal Court and paid $300 in fees and court costs, according to The Topeka Capital-Journal. Judy L. Thomas, kansascity, "Employee at shelter housing migrant children faced sexual misconduct allegations," 6 July 2018 Since 1994, a landmark State Water Resources Control Board decision has capped L.A.’s diversions of the streams that feed Mono Lake, defusing for a time one of California’s most protracted environmental battles. Louis Sahagun, latimes.com, "A changing climate at Mono Lake could mean more dust storms in the Eastern Sierra — or less water for L.A.," 5 July 2018 The storm cracked the plane's windshields and prompted an emergency diversion into El Paso. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: The Democratic establishment strikes back in California, New Jersey and other primaries," 6 June 2018 The bulk of even this limited supply money, however, went to prescription monitoring and reducing diversion of opioid painkillers by, for example, putting more money toward drug take-back initiatives to discard unused opioids. German Lopez, Vox, "Senate Republicans’ new plan for the opioid crisis: the same old war on drugs," 12 Apr. 2018 The city's suit charged that by flooding the region with millions of doses of opioids more than anyone could consume, the companies opened floodgates to allow diversion of those pain pills to the streets. Terry Demio, Cincinnati.com, "If Big Pharma responsible for opioid crisis, who should get restitution?," 6 Apr. 2018 Any diversion in the schedule can leave him nearly paralyzed with anxiety. Meghan Daum, Redbook, "Caregivers: Celebrating the Invisible War Heroes," 12 Nov. 2012 Environmentalists say water diversions from the river for human use have caused the Chinook salmon population to plummet. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "San Francisco’s Trump Water Strike," 6 Nov. 2018 The internet can be a joyful, vibrant place full of important information, connectivity, and diversions from everyday drudgery. Alessandra Codinha, Vogue, "Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande Are Taking a Social Media Break (And So Can You)," 24 July 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

8 Dec 2018

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

: 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).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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