Divertissement can mean "diversion" in both English and French, and it probably won't surprise you to learn that "divertissement" and "diversion" can be traced back to the same Latin root : divertere, meaning "to turn in opposite directions." Early uses of "divertissement" in English often occurred in musical contexts, particularly opera and ballet, describing light sequences that entertained but did little to further the story. (The word's Italian cousin, divertimento, is used in a similar way.) Today "divertissement" can refer to any kind of amusement or pastime, specifically one that provides a welcome distraction from what is burdensome or distressing.
Examples of divertissement in a Sentence
for visitors seeking more cerebral divertissement, the city boasts a fine performing arts center
Recent Examples on the WebThis season, the Act 2 pas de quatre, a speedy and demanding divertissement for three women and one man, was cut to help streamline the ballet.
New York Times, 25 Feb. 2020 Historical revisionism as an academic divertissement is corrupting, muddling the intellects of generations.
Jakub Grygiel, National Review, 8 Nov. 2019 Festive music is suddenly heard as the people celebrate Thésée’s safe return in an ironic divertissement.
George Loomis, New York Times, 13 Apr. 2018 Whole numbers were excised, though Prokofiev was able to salvage some of the divertissements elsewhere in the score.
Joshua Barone, New York Times, 23 Jan. 2018 With the young Queen Victoria often in the audience, the world’s foremost ballerinas appeared there, sometimes in duets, trios, and quartets, with Perrot making creative breakthroughs in terms of both narrative ballet and pure-dance divertissements.
Alastair Macaulay, BostonGlobe.com, 11 Apr. 2018 With the young Queen Victoria often in the audience, the world’s foremost ballerinas appeared there, sometimes in duets, trios and quartets, with Perrot making creative breakthroughs in terms of both narrative ballet and pure-dance divertissements.
Alastair Macaulay, New York Times, 9 Apr. 2018
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'divertissement.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.