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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Following the leak of a draft majority opinion from the Supreme Court that would overturn Roe v. Wade, the Democratic Party sees an opportunity to divert the public's attention from the rising cost of living. Newt Gingrich, WSJ, 11 May 2022 The goal was to divert the attention of law enforcement efforts to radical groups of the time, Baldwin testified. Ray Sanchez, CNN, 9 Apr. 2022 But Gollust issued a statement saying Kilar’s memo was a way to divert attention from the negative attention his decision has received. Los Angeles Times, 15 Feb. 2022 Once the store was secured, investigators preliminarily determined that whoever set the fires did so to divert attention to allow shoplifting, Banasiak said. Michelle L. Quinn, chicagotribune.com, 11 Jan. 2022 Others say the new act is a government tool being used to divert attention from what some call more relevant causes, including passing police reform legislation and granting reparations in response to recent racial protests. Dallas News, 6 July 2021 As her traffic debt mounted, Washington tried to divert her attention to work and community activism. Jon Schuppe, NBC News, 8 May 2021 When the Reds went 99 innings without holding a lead, Bell didn’t divert from his approach with the bullpen. Charlie Goldsmith, The Enquirer, 6 May 2022 Russia cannot easily divert those supplies intended for Europe to customers in places elsewhere, like China. Paul Hockenos For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, 5 May 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near divert



divert/distract attention

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Statistics for divert

Last Updated

26 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Divert.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/divert. Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for divert


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, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
3 : to give pleasure to : amuse Paint and paper diverted the children.


transitive verb
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

More from Merriam-Webster on divert

Nglish: Translation of divert for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of divert for Arabic Speakers


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