Definition of divest in English:

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Pronunciation: /dəˈvest/
Pronunciation: /dīˈvest/


[with object]
1Deprive (someone) of power, rights, or possessions: men are unlikely to be divested of power without a struggle
More example sentences
  • She was divested of her gold medal minutes after winning the 800 m in the Seoul Asiad for crossing the lane.
  • But we can't give government the unilateral right to divest us of all our rights.
  • It will, of course, take more than the odd late-season slump to divest Arsenal of their undoubted glamour.
1.1Deprive (something) of a particular quality: he has divested the original play of its charm
More example sentences
  • Pleasantly in-the-face, the play divests mythological heroes of their aura and presents them in a lacklustre light.
  • He fears the Goshree bridges would divest the islands of their charm of being aloof and convert them into a thoroughfare.
  • The pain makes his head throb and divests his brain of any sort of thinking power.
1.2 [no object] Rid oneself of something that one no longer wants or requires, such as a business interest or investment: it appears easier to carry on in the business than to divest the government’s policy of divesting itself of state holdings
More example sentences
  • He established the tabloid Daily Mirror in 1941, but divested himself of all his newspaper interests in 1958.
  • He informed the committee that he had divested himself of all outside interests.
  • During the Nineties healthcare firms were keen to divest themselves of their interests in vaccines.
1.3 dated or humorous Relieve (someone) of something being worn or carried: she divested him of his coat
More example sentences
  • Croft got up and went out into the hall where Jeffries divested him of his lounging jacket and helped him into a black frock coat.
  • Then, with a faint blush colouring his cheeks, he divested her of her stained jeans.
  • She directed her gaze heavenward then proceeded to divest him of his coat.


Early 17th century: alteration of devest, from Old French desvestir, from des- (expressing removal) + Latin vestire (from vestis 'garment').

Words that rhyme with divest

abreast, arrest, attest, beau geste, behest, bequest, best, blessed, blest, breast, Brest, Bucharest, Budapest, celeste, chest, contest, crest, digest, guest, hest, infest, ingest, jest, lest, Midwest, molest, nest, northwest, pest, prestressed, protest, quest, rest, self-addressed, self-confessed, self-possessed, southwest, suggest, test, Trieste, unaddressed, unexpressed, unimpressed, unpressed, unstressed, vest, west, wrest, zest

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: di·vest

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