[ dih-vest, dahy- ]
/ dɪˈvɛst, daɪ- /

verb (used with object)

to strip of clothing, ornament, etc.: The wind divested the trees of their leaves.
to strip or deprive (someone or something), especially of property or rights; dispossess.
to rid of or free from: He divested himself of all responsibility for the decision.
Law. to take away or alienate (property, rights, etc.).
  1. to sell off: to divest holdings.
  2. to rid of through sale: The corporation divested itself of its subsidiaries.

Nearby words

  1. divertimento,
  2. diverting,
  3. divertissement,
  4. divertive,
  5. dives,
  6. divestible,
  7. divestiture,
  8. divesture,
  9. divi,
  10. divi-divi

Origin of divest

1595–1605; < Medieval Latin dīvestīre, equivalent to dī- di-2 + vestīre to dress, vest

Related formsun·di·vest·ed, adjective

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

Examples from the Web for divest

British Dictionary definitions for divest


/ (daɪˈvɛst) /

verb (tr usually foll by of)

to strip (of clothes)to divest oneself of one's coat
to deprive or dispossess
property law to take away an estate or interest in property vested (in a person)
Derived Formsdivestible, adjectivedivestiture (daɪˈvɛstɪtʃə), divesture (daɪˈvɛstʃə) or divestment, noun

Word Origin for divest

C17: changed from earlier devest

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 divest



1560s, devest (modern spelling is c.1600), from Middle French devester "strip of possessions," from Old French desvestir, from des- "away" (see dis-) + vestir "to clothe" (see vest (v.)).

The figurative sense of "strip of possessions" is earliest in English; reflexive sense of "to strip oneself of" is from c.1600. Economic sense (implied in divestment) is from 1955. Related: Divested; divesting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper