Definition of divest in English:


Syllabification: di·vest
Pronunciation: /diˈvest, dī-


[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').

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