divertissement

noun
di·ver·tisse·ment | \di-ˈvər-təs-mənt, -təz-, F dē-ver-tē-smäⁿ \
plural divertissements\-mən(t)s, -smäⁿ(z) \

Definition of divertissement 

1 : a dance sequence or short ballet usually used as an interlude

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Did You Know?

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 Web

Whole numbers were excised, though Prokofiev was able to salvage some of the divertissements elsewhere in the score. Joshua Barone, New York Times, "The Tortured History Behind Prokofiev’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’," 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, "Ivor Guest, 97; transformed study of dance history," 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, "Ivor Guest, 97, Dies; Transformed Study of Dance History," 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.

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First Known Use of divertissement

circa 1728, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for divertissement

French, literally, diversion, from divertiss- (stem of divertir)

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Dictionary Entries near divertissement

diverting

divertise

divertisement

divertissement

divertive

divertor

Dives

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Time Traveler for divertissement

The first known use of divertissement was circa 1728

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a state of commotion or excitement

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