[dih-vur-juhns, dahy-]


the act, fact, or amount of diverging: a divergence in opinion.
(in physics, meteorology, etc.) the total amount of flux escaping an infinitesimal volume at a point in a vector field, as the net flow of air from a given region.
Ophthalmology. a turning motion of the eyeballs outward in relation to each other.
Electronics. the spreading of a stream of electrons resulting from their mutual electrostatic repulsion.

Origin of divergence

From the Medieval Latin word dīvergentia, dating back to 1650–60. See diverge, -ence
Related formsnon·di·ver·gence, noun

Synonyms for divergence

Antonyms for divergence

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for divergence

Contemporary Examples of divergence

Historical Examples of divergence

  • They had arrived by an oft-trodden path to an ancient point of divergence.

    Roden's Corner

    Henry Seton Merriman

  • This divergence of taste and sympathies is no laughing matter.

  • Just for one brief moment he contemplated a divergence from his course.

    The Law-Breakers

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • There may and must be divergence of opinion as to the safest way to overcome intemperance.


    Hugo Mnsterberg

  • Robin's divergence from his father's ways was, secretly, an acute disappointment to her.

    Mary Gray

    Katharine Tynan

British Dictionary definitions for divergence



the act or result of diverging or the amount by which something diverges
the condition of being divergent
meteorol the outflowing of airstreams from a particular area, caused by expanding air
  1. the scalar product of the operator, ∇, and a vector function, A, where ∇= i ∂/∂ x + j ∂/∂ y + k ∂/∂ z, and i, j, and k are unit vectors. Usually written: div A, A, or ∇A.See curl (def. 11), gradient (def. 4)
  2. the property of being divergent
the spreading of a stream of electrons as a result of their mutual electrostatic repulsion
the turning of the eyes outwards in order to fixate an object farther away than that previously being fixatedCompare convergence (def. 7)
Also called: divergent evolution the evolutionary development of structures or organisms that differ from each other in form and function but have evolved from the same basic structure or organismCompare convergence (def. 5)
Also called (for senses 1, 2): divergency
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for divergence

1650s, from Modern Latin divergentia, from divergens (see diverge). Related: Divergency.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

divergence in Medicine


[dĭ-vûrjəns, dī-]


A moving or spreading apart in different directions from a common point.
The degree by which things deviate or spread apart.
A turning of both eyes outward from a common point or of one eye when the other is fixed.
The spreading of branches of the neuron to form synapses with several other neurons.
The evolutionary process by which organisms descended from a common ancestor tend to acquire different forms when living under different conditions.
Related formsdi•vergent adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

divergence in Science



Mathematics The property or manner of failing to approach a limit, such as a point, line, or value.
Biology The evolution of different forms or structures in related species as they adapt to different environments. An example of divergence is the development of wings in bats from the same bones that form the arm and hand or paw in most other mammals. Also called divergent evolution Compare convergence.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.