[dih-vur-zhuh n, -shuh n, dahy-]


the act of diverting or turning aside, as from a course or purpose: a diversion of industry into the war effort.
a channel made to divert the flow of water from one course to another or to direct the flow of water draining from a piece of ground.
British. a detour on a highway or road.
distraction from business, care, etc.; recreation; amusement; a pastime: Movies are his favorite diversion.
Military. a feint intended to draw off attention from the point of main attack.

Origin of diversion

1590–1600; < Medieval Latin dīversiōn- (stem of dīversiō), equivalent to Latin dīvers(us) diverse + -iōn- -ion
Related formspre·di·ver·sion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for diversion

Contemporary Examples of diversion

Historical Examples of diversion

  • There was, he contended, some diversion and diversity in card-playing.

  • It was Burke who offered a diversion, a crude interruption after his own fashion.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • To gain a diversion, he reverted to his familiar bullying tactics.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • The diversion occurred at the moment of the lion's greatest tension.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • Dica Petit now returned, and this caused a diversion in the waiting-room.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

British Dictionary definitions for diversion



the act of diverting from a specified course
mainly British an official detour used by traffic when a main route is closed
something that distracts from business, etc; amusement
military a feint attack designed to draw an enemy away from the main attack
Derived Formsdiversional or diversionary, adjective
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 diversion

early 15c., "diverse condition;" c.1600 "act of diverting," from Middle French diversion, from Late Latin diversionem (nominative diversio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin divertere (see divert).

Sense of "amusement, entertainment" is first recorded 1640s. Hence, divertimento (1823), from the Italian form; originally "a musical composition designed primarily for entertainment."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper