[ dih-vur-juhns, dahy- ]
See synonyms for divergence on Thesaurus.com
  1. the act, fact, or amount of diverging: a divergence in opinion.

  2. (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.

  1. Ophthalmology. a turning motion of the eyeballs outward in relation to each other.

  2. 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

Other words for divergence

Opposites for divergence

Other words from divergence

  • non·di·ver·gence, noun

Words Nearby divergence

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use divergence in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for divergence


/ (daɪˈvɜːdʒəns) /

  1. the act or result of diverging or the amount by which something diverges

  2. the condition of being divergent

  1. meteorol the outflowing of airstreams from a particular area, caused by expanding air

  2. maths

    • 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)

    • the property of being divergent

  3. the spreading of a stream of electrons as a result of their mutual electrostatic repulsion

  4. the turning of the eyes outwards in order to fixate an object farther away than that previously being fixated: Compare convergence (def. 7)

  5. 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 organism: Compare 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

Scientific definitions for divergence


[ dĭ-vûrjəns ]

  1. Mathematics The property or manner of failing to approach a limit, such as a point, line, or value.

  2. 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.