divest

verb
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

Essie pressures corporations to divest from the prison industry, and recently Google and Facebook banned ads for bail bonds on their platforms. Alicia Garza, Marie Claire, "Alicia Garza on How Women Are Battling Mass Incarceration," 30 Apr. 2019 The president and vice president’s spouses and minor children would also be required to divest assets that could be a conflict of interest. Ella Nilsen, Vox, "House Democrats’ sweeping anti-corruption bill HR 1 is getting a Senate companion.," 18 Dec. 2018 More companies are implementing more frequent and rigorous portfolio reviews, which identify underperforming or non-core assets and divesting businesses that no longer fit with the strategy. Polina Marinova, Fortune, "Term Sheet -- Friday, June 8," 8 June 2018 Analysts expect Marathon Oil to divest more Gulf holdings. Collin Eaton, Houston Chronicle, "Private companies investing in Gulf as Wall Street turns its back," 3 May 2018 Where Mademoiselle was reinvigorated by collecting and deacquisitioning lovers, Karl sheds his skin from time to time by divesting himself of houses and collections of priceless things. Kennedy Fraser, Vogue, "From the Archives: Karl Lagerfeld, The Impresario," 19 Feb. 2019 GE Chief Financial Officer Jamie Miller said in June that the company would cut leverage to 2.5 times by 2020, mostly by divesting itself of assets to reduce its liabilities. Matt Wirz, WSJ, "What GE Needs to Do to Avoid Junk Territory," 9 Jan. 2019 Newsletter Sign-up The Treasury has signaled in other recent sanctions actions that companies not accused of wrongdoing can get themselves off the blacklist if their owner divests or gives up control. Samuel Rubenfeld, WSJ, "Push to Block Easing of Sanctions Could Make U.S. Wary of High-Profile Targets," 16 Jan. 2019 Less than two months later, De Blasio and city comptroller Scott Stringer began divesting from Wells Fargo. Rebecca Bengal, Vogue, "The Power of Nathan Phillips’s Song," 21 Jan. 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

23 May 2019

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Time Traveler for divest

The first known use of divest was in 1623

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More Definitions for divest

divest

verb

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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