The Meaning of Divergent: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of divergent? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word divergent, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word divergent mean?

According to Merriam-Webster Unabridged English Dictionary and Dictionary, the word divergent (pronounced daɪˈvɜːdʒ ənt) is an adjective that means different or deviating from a common path. Two twins, while similar in look, might take divergent paths in their career. Someone who thinks outside the box could be known to have divergent thinking or divergent approaches to problems. Someone who loves underwater basket weaving may be considered to have divergent interests. Someone in an alt-right political group might have divergent opinions or divergent views from the majority of people. This can also be used in mathematics to describe something that has no finite limits. The word Divergent can also be used to refer to the Divergent series of books written be Veronica Roth. Try using this word of the day or other new words in a sentence today!

Many different languages also contain words that mean divergent. You may notice that some of these words look and sound similar to the word divergent. These are known as cognates, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning, and look and sound similar across different languages. These are often formed when two words or languages share a common root or language of origin like Latin or Greek. This list of translations for the word divergent is provided by Word Sense. 

  • Bulgarian: разходящ‎
  • Polish: rozbieżny‎ (masc.)
  • Greek: αποκλίνουσα‎ (fem.)
  • Czech: divergentní‎, rozbíhavý‎ (masc.)
  • Swedish: divergent‎
  • Hungarian: divergens‎
  • Georgian: განშლადი‎
  • Tagalog: palayo‎
  • Finnish: hajaantuva‎

How can the word divergent be used in a sentence?

The word divergent can be used in many different ways to describe something or someone that differs from the norm. In this example, Rachel’s class took many polls to learn about statistics. They are going over the results of the poll.

Teacher: Now 99% of students do not want uniforms, but 1% do. This divergent faction means that the vote is not unanimous. Is anyone willing to share if they were the one to say they did want uniforms?

Rachel: It was me.

Teacher: Can I ask why you would like uniforms to be implemented?

Rachel: I really think it will lower bullying at this school. Not a lot of kids have money to buy the latest fashions, and I have seen many kids get bullied for not wearing the latest trend or brand. Plus, it would help eliminate dress coding. Girls are targeted for dress code violations way more than boys, and it isn’t fair. Plus, it will help to curb body shaming.

Student: Can I change my vote?

Student 2: Me too!

Here, the teacher uses the word divergent to describe the one percent of students – only Rachel – who wanted uniforms. However, after Rachel’s argument, many more students are on her side; her view may not be so divergent after all!

What is the origin of the word divergent?

According to Etymonline, the word divergent has been used as an adjective since the 1690s to mean moving in a different direction. This comes from the Modern LAtin divergentem, the nominative divergens from the present participle of divergere meaning to go in different directions. This comes from the root dis meaning apart and vergere meaning to bend or tend toward. This comes from the Proto-Indo-European root wer meaning to turn or bend. This word has been used generally to  mean separating from something or following a different course since 1801, and in the figurative sense from 1839. Related words include the noun divergence, the verb diverge, and the adverb divergently.

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word divergent?

There are many different words that a person can use in place of the word divergent. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same definition as another word or phrase. Synonyms are a useful English language tool because they can help you add variety to your writing and speech and avoid repeating yourself, while growing your vocabulary in the process. This list of synonyms for the word divergent is provided by Thesaurus

  • like night and day
  • preternatural
  • disparate
  • exceptional
  • particular
  • dissonant
  • altered
  • distinctive
  • contradistinct
  • anomalous
  • colorful
  • clashing
  • nonconforming
  • contrasting
  • inconsistent
  • deviating
  • disagreeing
  • contradictory
  • diverse
  • variant
  • dissimilar
  • peculiar
  • aberrant
  • antithetical
  • differential
  • contrary
  • unalike
  • irregular
  • contrastive
  • unsimilar
  • abnormal
  • factious
  • a far cry from
  • untypical
  • different
  • poles apart
  • contradistinctive
  • off-key
  • other
  • distant
  • diverging
  • individual
  • opposite
  • changed
  • distinct
  • discrepant
  • at variance
  • single
  • opposed
  • various
  • separate
  • unnatural
  • unequal
  • incommensurable
  • unrelated
  • unlike
  • conflicting
  • odd
  • mismatched
  • heteroclite
  • mismated
  • at odds
  • atypical
  • antithetic
  • otherwise
  • factional
  • incomparable
  • unrepresentative
  • offbeat
  • deviant
  • divers
  • strange

There are also many different words that have the opposite meaning as the word divergent. These are known as antonyms, and are also very useful to know if you are trying to grow your English language vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word divergent is provided by Thesaurus as well. 

  • double
  • duplicate
  • coincident
  • correlative
  • approximate
  • coincidental
  • obedient
  • kindred
  • agnate
  • proportionate
  • collateral
  • in line with
  • equivalent
  • comparable
  • akin
  • corresponding
  • dead ringer
  • congruent
  • same
  • spitting image
  • parallel
  • kin
  • consonant
  • related
  • in agreement
  • congruous
  • analogous
  • associated
  • even
  • agreeing
  • resembling
  • allied
  • coinciding
  • uniform
  • correspondent
  • identical
  • twin
  • matching
  • ditto
  • indistinguishable
  • same difference
  • facsimile
  • mated
  • concurrent
  • conforming
  • equal
  • cognate
  • consubstantial
  • companion
  • complementary
  • alike
  • convergent
  • similar
  • carbon copy
  • like
  • undifferentiated
  • homogeneous
  • harmonious
  • Xerox
  • much the same
  • reciprocal
  • matched
  • look-alike

Overall, the word divergent, pronounced daɪˈvɜːdʒənt, is an adjective that describes someone or something that differs from the usual, or strays from a common point. This can be used literally or figuratively, and is a very versatile word in the English language.