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 \ -​ˈves(t)-​mənt How to pronounce divestment (audio) \ 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

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 Senators from both parties criticized her apparent unwillingness to divest, leading Fitzgerald earlier this month to promise to work on getting rid of the financial holdings. Adam K. Raymond, Daily Intelligencer, "Official Leading Anti-Smoking Push Resigns After Buying Tobacco Stock," 31 Jan. 2018 Treasury clarified Monday that U.S. companies or individuals could serve as custodians as another U.S. person or entity works to divest their holdings in Venezuelan bonds. Samuel Rubenfeld, WSJ, "U.S. Guidance on Venezuela Sanctions Seeks to Clear up Confusion, Lawyers Say," 12 Feb. 2019 Requiring the president and vice president to disclose their tax returns and divest any assets that could present a conflict of interest. Ella Nilsen, Vox, "House Democrats’ sweeping anti-corruption bill HR 1 is getting a Senate companion.," 18 Dec. 2018 Comcast promised to match Disney’s promise to divest. Phil Rosenthal, chicagotribune.com, "With Disney and Comcast willing to discard Fox's RSNs, Cubs must wonder value of channel," 26 June 2018

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

11 Apr 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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