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 Republicans have repeatedly complained that money intended for transportation has been diverted from the state’s Special Transportation Fund through the years under various governors. Christopher Keating, courant.com, "Republicans cool to Gov. Ned Lamont’s revised $21 billion transportation plan that would toll 14 bridges," 6 Nov. 2019 To date, Trump’s border wall has cost American taxpayers about $10 billion, $3.6 billion of which was diverted from US military budgets after a Supreme Court ruling last July allowed the move. Justin Rohrlich, Quartz, "Trump to spend $300 million on “quality assurance” after border wall easily breached," 6 Nov. 2019 After Quincy Promes' free-kick was inadvertently diverted into his own goal by Tammy Abraham, Jorginho equalized from the penalty spot just 67 seconds later after Christian Pulisic was clumsily taken down. Matias Grez, CNN, "Chelsea and Ajax serve up eight-goal Champions League thriller," 5 Nov. 2019 State Police were on scene and eastbound Pike traffic was being diverted onto Route 20 at Exit 8. BostonGlobe.com, "Interstate 495 southbound was closed at Exit 26 in Berlin Tuesday morning following a multi-truck crash there just after 3 a.m., according to the State Police.," 5 Nov. 2019 All traffic was diverted onto State Route 85 during the closure, ADOT said. Molly Duerig, azcentral, "Eastbound I-10 reopens west of Phoenix after crash," 31 Oct. 2019 What everyone’s talking about An Air France flight was diverted to Ireland after a mysterious cellphone was found on board. Ashley Shaffer, USA TODAY, "Will the real Pierre Delecto please stand up?," 21 Oct. 2019 Oregon Department of Transportation said all southbound lanes of I-5 were closed, and that traffic was being diverted into the northbound lanes. oregonlive, "2 lanes reopen on I-5 south near Woodburn after fiery crash," 15 Oct. 2019 The Federal Aviation Administration says JetBlue flight 227, an Airbus A320, had departed Newark Liberty International Airport en route to Orlando International Airport when it was diverted. orlandosentinel.com, "Orlando-bound JetBlue flight makes emergency landing at JFK," 14 Oct. 2019

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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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

14 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Divert.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diverted. Accessed 21 November 2019.

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More Definitions for divert


How to pronounce divert (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on divert

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for divert

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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