di·​vert | \ də-ˈvərt How to pronounce divert (audio) , 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 The state does allow those administering vaccinations to divert doses to others if doses would otherwise expire and go to waste. Jill Tucker, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Area teachers face confusion over when they’ll get vaccinated," 25 Jan. 2021 That realization is partly what prompted the state to divert 12,000 of this week's shipment of 60,000 doses to nine test clinics for COVID-19 vaccinations of people 65 and older as well as teachers and child-care providers. Jeremy Olson, Star Tribune, "Walz: Minnesota progressing toward 3 million vaccinated target," 22 Jan. 2021 DeSantis said Monday much of the vaccine confusion is being engendered by hospitals and threatened to divert vaccines from less proficient hospitals to those that are getting more vaccine doses into more arms. John Haughey, Washington Examiner, "Pandemic outpacing vaccinations as post-holiday surge hammers Florida," 11 Jan. 2021 Constructed in the early 1900s to divert water out of the Rio Grande to cotton, sugar cane and citrus crops, irrigation districts still pump out of the river. Eric Dexheimer, ExpressNews.com, "30 years on, Texas colonia residents billed for service they never received," 24 Dec. 2020 The plan also required the city to divert administrative staff from middle and high schools to elementary schools to supervise the CARE classrooms, angering a whole new set of parents and administrators. Washington Post, "How D.C. and its teachers, with shifting plans and demands, failed to reopen schools," 27 Nov. 2020 But Hardesty and Eudaly rejected incremental change and proposed the city reduce the police budget by $18 million and divert the majority of those funds to city coronavirus relief efforts. oregonlive, "$18 million cut to Portland police budget not possible without layoffs, city analysis shows," 5 Nov. 2020 When the Blue Ridge fire broke out in the afternoon in Yorba Linda, commanders were able to quickly divert firefighters to the new threat. Joseph Serna, Los Angeles Times, "Irvine fire was a recipe for disaster. It became a rare victory for firefighters in grim year," 30 Oct. 2020 In his first day in office, Biden terminated the national emergency declaration issued by Trump that was used to divert $10 billion from the Defense Department to construct the wall. Howard Koplowitz | Hkoplowitz@al.com, al, "Tuberville raises ‘serious concerns’ on Biden halting border wall construction," 21 Jan. 2021

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 diverten "to turn in a certain direction, turn away, direct one's mind," borrowed from Middle French & Medieval Latin; Middle French divertir, borrowed (with conjugation change) from Medieval Latin dīvertere "to turn aside, deflect, alienate (property), depart," continuing both Latin dīvertere "to separate oneself (from), be different, diverge" (from dī-, variant before voiced sounds of dis- dis- + vertere "to cause to revolve, turn, spin") and dēvertere "to turn away, divert, make a turn aside/detour," from dē- de- + vertere — more at worth entry 4

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Time Traveler for divert

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for divert

Last Updated

19 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Divert.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/divert. Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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

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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