Definition of divest in English:



[with object]divest someone/something of
  • 1Deprive someone of (power, rights, or possessions)

    ‘men are unlikely to be divested of power without a struggle’
    • ‘And in ‘The Ascension of Sheep,’ the possibility is raised of the sheep divesting the farmer of his profit.’
    • ‘It divests him of a capacity for grandeur we want our leaders to possess.’
    • ‘Paese also said it didn't make sense to divest holdings of stocks because of a company's activities.’
    • ‘Six soldiers moved among the ranks of her scouts, divesting them of any visible weapons.’
    • ‘Guess my brilliant incisive lawyer didn't know what would happen to me when she divested me of my material wealth.’
    • ‘The grant of a licence to occupy, however, will not divest the owner of control.’
    • ‘And Americans are divested of yet another of their hard-won personal liberties.’
    • ‘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.’
    deprive, strip, dispossess, relieve
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    1. 1.1 Deprive something of (a particular quality)
      ‘he has divested the original play of its charm’
      • ‘It divests you of any sentimentality you might have for home since home was never very accommodating in the first place.’
      • ‘The slave status divested the kullars of any personality outside the service of the master.’
      • ‘Forms of Christianity that essentially divest the faith of its classical, historical identity do not fare well.’
      • ‘The pain makes his head throb and divests his brain of any sort of thinking power.’
      • ‘It will be there waiting for a chance to attack and divest you of your inner purification.’
      • ‘He fears the Goshree bridges would divest the islands of their charm of being aloof and convert them into a thoroughfare.’
      • ‘Pleasantly in-the-face, the play divests mythological heroes of their aura and presents them in a lacklustre light.’
      • ‘This did not mean that they were divested of all religious significance.’
      • ‘Undeserved appellations and humiliating epithets divest him of his self-esteem.’
      • ‘An hour or two, and we will be divested of light again, going under a quilt of tulle fog and the cold dense black of yet another long winter's night.’
    2. 1.2 Rid oneself of (a business interest or investment)
      ‘the government's policy of divesting itself of state holdings’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A second was to order the IOUs to divest themselves of most of their thermal generating assets.’
      • ‘He established the tabloid Daily Mirror in 1941, but divested himself of all his newspaper interests in 1958.’
      • ‘Every day is spent divesting myself of yet more assets to cover the interest on debt repayment.’
      • ‘The group was, in any case, seeking to divest itself of operations which are not its core business.’
      • ‘And while the Fujian government has divested itself of its stake in Lianhe the relationship remains close.’
      • ‘Recently, the company has been divesting itself of those businesses to concentrate on its core TV technologies.’
      • ‘In 1998 the Peoples Liberation Army was ordered to divest itself of its considerable and highly regionalised business activities.’
      • ‘It was time to retire, so he began to divest himself of his businesses.’
    3. 1.3dated, humorous Relieve someone of (a garment)
      ‘she divested him of his coat’
      • ‘Then, with a faint blush colouring his cheeks, he divested her of her stained jeans.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She directed her gaze heavenward then proceeded to divest him of his coat.’
      • ‘She sat them at a table and then neatly divested them of their cloaks.’
      • ‘Grabbing and groping commenced as the women began divesting the hapless men of their cumbersome armor and battle dress.’
      strip, relieve, denude
      View synonyms


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