Word of the Day : June 14, 2020


verb DYE-vuh-gayt


: to wander or stray from a course or subject : diverge, digress

Did You Know?

Divagate hasn't wandered far in meaning from its Latin ancestors. It descends from the verb divagari, which comes from dis-, meaning "apart," and vagari, meaning "to wander." Vagari also gave us vagabond, meaning "a wanderer with no home," and extravagant, an early, now archaic, sense of which was "wandering away." Latin vagari is also probably the source of our noun vagary, which now usually means "whim or caprice" but originally meant "journey, excursion, or tour." Even the verb stray may have evolved from vagari, by way of Vulgar Latin extravagare. Today, divagate can suggest a wandering or straying that is literal (as in "the hikers divagated from the trail"), but it is more often used figuratively (as in "she divagated from the topic").


The novel divagates and meanders through a labyrinth of subplots and asides.

"Having spirited us briskly through Manhattan, New Bedford and Nantucket, and having flushed Ahab from his lair on to the deck of the Pequod, Herman Melville divagates into a disquisition on whale taxonomies." — Stephen Phillips, The Spectator, 2 Nov. 2019

Test Your Vocabulary

What 7-letter word beginning with "m" can mean "to wander slowly" or "to speak indistinctly"?



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