Word of the Day : June 18, 2012


noun dih-VER-tiss-munt


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

2 : an instrumental chamber work in several movements usually light in character

3 : diversion, entertainment

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.


For visitors seeking more cerebral divertissement, the city boasts a fine performing arts center.

"These are the journals of Henry Brandling, a British railroad heir who, desperate for a divertissement for his sickly young son, traveled deep into the land of expert clock makers in the German Schwarzwald in 1854 to commission a mechanical toy duck." - From a book review by Heller McAlpin on NPR.org, May 16, 2012

Test Your Memory

What is the meaning of "halcyon," our Word of the Day from June 3? The answer is ...


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