Definition of diversionary in US English:



  • 1Intended to distract attention from something more important.

    ‘her comments are easy to dismiss as a diversionary tactic’
    ‘He planned to confuse the enemy with a diversionary attack on the Alaskan coast’
    • ‘There was supposed to be a diversionary covering air strike.’
    • ‘He deployed his divisions with the aid of smoke, mirrors and diversionary activities.’
    • ‘His leadership in directing a diversionary force at Maastricht allowed the king's main army to take the town.’
    • ‘Frequently, those solutions have been diversionary, steering the electorate away from confrontations of their own ambivalence about social change.’
    • ‘The Duke's army, circumvented by the rebels in a diversionary movement on the march south, remained intact, waiting outside Northampton for events to unfold.’
    • ‘In the south the French division mounted a diversionary amphibious raid at Kum Kale on the Asian side of the Dardanelles.’
    • ‘Determined to rescue the two, Holmes starts a diversionary fire and, in the confusion, scarpers.’
    • ‘Hitler remained convinced that the main Allied invasion of France would take place near Calais and that operations against Normandy were diversionary.’
    • ‘After a series of diversionary manoeuvres, he crossed the river under cover of a thunderstorm and defeated Porus.’
    • ‘We have heard all these diversionary arguments before, but rarely do these arguments have any merit.’
    1. 1.1 Denoting a recreational activity that diverts the mind.
      ‘a coffee break and diversionary chat with Paul’
      ‘a major issue in urban areas is that of accessible diversionary activities for young people’
      • ‘The developers seemed to be conscious this would be primarily a diversionary game.’
      • ‘Youth clubs have also been given money to pay for diversionary activities such as discos and barbecues to get young people off the streets.’
      • ‘American pop culture is filled with remnants of television series whose impact was little more than diversionary and trivial.’
      • ‘It's not the kind of record I'd want to listen to at home - it's diversionary and fun, sometimes even great, but not very deep.’
      • ‘I'm hesitant to assign this film a purely diversionary purpose, but is it designed to teach the virtue of self-reliance, or the simple pleasures of constructive play?’
      • ‘Here, for your approval, is just a sampling of some of the most appealing diversionary choices currently offered on your TV.’
      • ‘This really is a title better suited for Spider Man fans looking for some diversionary gameplay.’
      • ‘Secondly, it's not comprised of mini-games or other diversionary elements.’
      • ‘The archness doesn't really get in the way of the crime fighting, but it does lift this book from potentially boring to perfectly diversionary summer reading.’
      • ‘Mini-games such as Crush the Carrier are fresh, but prove nothing more than minor diversionary undertakings.’
  • 2Having the effect of turning something aside from its course.

    ‘the challenge of lowering the lake isn't just technical—diversionary tunnels could drain it’
    • ‘To partially rectify this system new diversionary cables were laid to circumvent the target conurbations.’
    • ‘At any time today, there are a dozen Hope Vale people either in prison, or who would be in prison without diversionary measures.’
    • ‘Detailed discussions should follow in order to consider any modifications to the scheme which may assist in reducing the costs of diversionary works.’
    • ‘A diversionary channel is still being used to flow the river around the work site.’
    • ‘Where occasional water flowing onto or across a site cannot be avoided, it can often be made harmless by diversionary banks, directing the flow into drains.’
    • ‘The height of the diversionary structure will allow water exceeding a two-year flood stage to flow onto an adjacent flood plain.’
    • ‘Other reasons may include the lack of adequate diversionary options where we can divert people with minor charges out of the criminal justice system into psychiatric care.’
    • ‘Diversionary tunnels were dug from the cavities to aqueducts filling the reservoirs, which were lined with lime.’
    • ‘Government must allocate extra funding to provide even more of these diversionary programs to give some hope to the juveniles responsible for much of the in-town disturbances.’
    1. 2.1British Denoting an alternative route for use by traffic when the usual road is temporarily closed.
      ‘motorists are advised to follow the signed diversionary route’
      • ‘The Golden Valley Line serves as a diversionary line for several other lines in the area as well as serving its normal traffic.’
      • ‘This recognises its importance for current passenger traffic and as a diversionary route when engineering takes place on the west coast main line.’
      • ‘The closures have meant gridlock in places, but pre-planned highways contingencies have been put into operation and diversionary routes publicised where possible.’
      • ‘it is important to establish a network of diversionary rail lines not only across the region but also across the country.’
      • ‘The death of a child, mown down by a speeding sponsor in 2000, led the organisers to push as much traffic as they can on to diversionary routes.’
      • ‘A further amount is being spent on a temporary diversionary bridge.’
      • ‘Diversionary loops also create extra track capacity for freight trains, enabling many more lorries to be taken off the roads.’
      • ‘What may look like a simple journey across town can become a nightmare diversionary trek via rail replacement bus services.’
      • ‘At Sadiapani village, land was acquired for a diversionary railway line, as the existing one will be submerged.’