December 10, 2011
divert (verb)
\duh-VERT\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 a : to turn aside : turn from one course or use to another b : to turn the attention away : distract2 : to give pleasure to by causing the time to pass pleasantly
How do you use it?
"The Queen, who often used to hear me talk of my sea voyages, and took all occasions to divert me when I was melancholy, asked me whether I understood how to handle a sail or an oar, and whether a little exercise of rowing might not be convenient for my health." (Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels)
Are you a word wiz?

Which word do you think is related to "divert"?

We hope you turned your attention to A. "Divert" and "versatile" both trace to the Latin root "vertere," which means "to turn." We can track "divert" to the Latin word "divertere," which means "to turn in opposite directions" and which Latin speakers formed from "vertere." "Versatile" traces to the Latin word "versatilis," which means "turning easily," and which was also formed from "vertere." "Vertere" is the root of a number of other English words as well. For example, the words "anniversary," "controversy," "convert," "prose," "universe," "verse," "version," and "vertebra" are all members of the "vertere" family.
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