di·​vert | \ də-ˈvərt, dī-\
diverted; diverting; diverts

Definition of divert 

intransitive verb

: to turn aside : deviate studied law but diverted to diplomacy

transitive verb

1a : to turn from one course or use to another : deflect divert traffic to a side street diverting funds to other projects
b : distract trying to divert her attention
2 : to give pleasure to especially by distracting the attention from what burdens or distresses children diverting themselves with their toys

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Choose the Right Synonym for divert

amuse, divert, entertain mean to pass or cause to pass the time pleasantly. amuse suggests that one's attention is engaged lightly. amuse yourselves while I make dinner divert implies distracting attention from worry or routine occupation especially by something funny. a light comedy to divert the tired businessman entertain suggests supplying amusement by specially contrived methods. a magician entertaining children at a party

Examples of divert in a Sentence

Police diverted traffic to a side street. The stream was diverted toward the farmland. They were charged with illegally diverting public funds for private use. He lied to divert attention from the real situation. They're only proposing the law to divert attention from important issues.
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Recent Examples on the Web

As well as preventing any flights from taking off, the suspension meant that numerous inbound flights had to be diverted to other London-area airports, while other flights were forced to land in Paris and Amsterdam. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Wealth managers and charities are looking forward to an IPO-rich 2019," 21 Dec. 2018 Porfirio Lobo’s wife has been held since February on charges of diverting $700,000 in public funds. Freddy Cuevas, The Seattle Times, "Former Honduran president criticizes brother’s prosecution," 13 Nov. 2018 Andrew Jackson was threatened with impeachment for removing funds from the National Bank, among other things; John Tyler for his robust use of the veto; and Ronald Reagan for diverting money to anticommunist fighters in Nicaragua. Barton Swaim, WSJ, "Politics: High Stakes and ‘High Crimes’," 1 Nov. 2018 Brochin’s ad tries to link that squabbling over guns to Almond’s perceived support of developers, accusing her of diverting attention from development issues. Pamela Wood, baltimoresun.com, "Ad watch: Brochin TV ad defends gun record, attacks Almond in Baltimore County executive race," 19 June 2018 The nonprofit aimed to relieve the burden on the courts by diverting people charged with nonviolent offenses into supervised community drug treatment. Graydon Megan, chicagotribune.com, "Barbara Hillman, labor attorney who represented wide range of workers, dies," 15 June 2018 His backers are suing him for fraud, accusing him of diverting over $1 million to his personal accounts. Sam Wood, Philly.com, "Metropolis Farms' CEO Jack Griffin is either the farmer of the future or a fantastic fraud," 4 June 2018 Texas, which has focused on treating addiction as a public health problem by diverting drug offenders from prison and into rehabilitation, saw a 10% reduction to its incarceration rate over a recent five-year period. Erica K. Zunkel, Fortune, "Commentary: We’ve Made Progress With Criminal Justice Reform. This Trump Pick Could Undo It All," 15 Mar. 2018 Ultimately, anything that causes disruption and affects service availability by diverting a digital system's resources or overloading its capacity can be seen as a DDoS attack. Lily Hay Newman, WIRED, "How Creative DDOS Attacks Still Slip Past Defenses," 12 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'divert.' 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 divert

15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for divert

Middle English, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French divertir, from Latin divertere to turn in opposite directions, from dis- + vertere to turn — more at worth

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Statistics for divert

Last Updated

10 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for divert

The first known use of divert was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for divert



English Language Learners Definition of divert

: to change the direction or use of (something)

: to take (attention) away from someone or something

: to take the attention of (someone) away from something or someone


di·​vert | \ də-ˈvərt, dī-\
diverted; diverting

Kids Definition of divert

1 : to turn from one path or use to another Police diverted traffic.
2 : to turn the attention away : distract Bagman opened his mouth to ask Harry something, but Percy diverted him.— J. K. Rowling, Goblet of Fire
3 : to give pleasure to : amuse Paint and paper diverted the children.
di·​vert | \ də-ˈvərt, dī- \

Legal Definition of divert 

1 : to turn from one course or use to another funds illegally diverted
2 : to place (a defendant) under a diversion

Other Words from divert

diverter noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on divert

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with divert

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for divert

Spanish Central: Translation of divert

Nglish: Translation of divert for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of divert for Arabic Speakers

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