di·​vest | \ dī-ˈvest How to pronounce divest (audio) , də-\
divested; divesting; divests

Definition of divest

transitive verb

1a : to deprive or dispossess especially of property, authority, or title divesting assets to raise capital was divested of his rights divesting herself of all her worldly possessions encouraged the university to divest itself from fossil fuels
b : to undress or strip especially of clothing, ornament, or equipment Christmas trees divested of their ornaments
c : rid, free
2 : to take away from a person

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Other Words from divest

divestment \ dī-​ˈves(t)-​mənt How to pronounce divestment (audio) , də-​ \ noun

Did You Know?

Divest is one of many English words that come from the Latin verb vestire (to clothe) and ultimately from the noun vestis (clothing, garment). Others include vest, vestment, invest, and travesty. Divest and its older form devest can mean to unclothe or to remove the clothing of, but the word had broader applications even when it was first being used in the 16th and 17th centuries. In the opening scene of Shakespeare's King Lear, Lear uses the term to mean rid oneself of or put aside:

"Tell me, my daughters
(Since now we will divest us both of rule,
Interest of territory, cares of state),
Which of you shall we say doth love us most?" In addition to clothing, one can be divested of power, authority, possessions, or burdens."

Examples of divest in a Sentence

The company is divesting 8 of its 20 stores. We may have to divest assets to raise capital.

Recent Examples on the Web

But Viola quickly pulled his nomination after citing difficulties in divesting himself from his businesses. Michael Collins, USA TODAY, "Trump’s picks for administration jobs keep dropping out. But why?," 17 June 2019 And earlier this week, the group also confirmed that LVMH was divesting itself of a minority stake in Edun, the eco-friendly fashion label started by the singer Bono and his wife Ali Hewson. Elizabeth Paton, New York Times, "Luxury’s Chess Masters Prepare for a New Game," 30 June 2018 But, as part of the auction of Johnson Publishing’s assets, the storied photography archive had to be divested. Jackie Mansky, Smithsonian, "Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie Bunch Weighs In on Legendary Photo Archive of African-American Life," 26 July 2019 Republicans and Democrats joined for a fleeting moment in celebrating the unanimous passage of a non-binding resolution condemning the movement to boycott, divest and sanction Israel. Ron Kampeas, sun-sentinel.com, "Congress tackles the anti-Israel boycott, but bipartisanship is fleeting," 23 July 2019 The campaign to divest from corporations such as ExxonMobil, Gazprom and Shell is one the fastest growing campaigns in the fight against climate change. San Diego Union-Tribune, "UC Academic Senate calls on Regents to divest from fossil fuels," 17 July 2019 While an independent Aetna is receding in the rearview mirror, a federal judge in Washington is still reviewing the acquisition and whether the partners divested enough of their businesses to promote competitiveness in the health care industry. Kenneth R. Gosselin, courant.com, "Hartford in the rearview mirror? Former Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini puts West Hartford home up for sale," 9 July 2019 In 2014, when the timber company decided to divest the land, San Francisco’s Trust For Public Land, a nonprofit land protection group, stepped in to pull together the $15 million purchase price. Gregory Thomas, SFChronicle.com, "Land deal protects spectacular 17-mile stretch of Pacific Crest Trail," 28 June 2019 The Constitution prohibits the president from receiving gifts or payments from foreign politicians and his failure to divest from his business could make the sale an issue, ethics experts said, according to the Post. Fox News, "Trump-owned Beverly Hills property was sold to entity linked to Indonesian billionaire, report says," 14 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'divest.' 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 divest

1623, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for divest

alteration of devest

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Last Updated

15 Aug 2019

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The first known use of divest was in 1623

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English Language Learners Definition of divest

finance : to sell (something valuable, such as property or stocks)
di·​vest | \ dī-ˈvest, də- How to pronounce divest (audio) \

Legal Definition of divest

: to deprive or dispossess (oneself) of property through divestiture

Other Words from divest

divestment noun

History and Etymology for divest

Anglo-French devestir, literally, to undress, from Old French desvestir, from de(s)-, prefix marking reversal + vestir to dress, from Latin vestire

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More from Merriam-Webster on divest

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with divest

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for divest

Spanish Central: Translation of divest

Nglish: Translation of divest for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of divest for Arabic Speakers

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