As the title says, I'm looking for a word for "someone who diverts". I could not find "Divertor" or "Diverter" in the dictionaries I trust or even the Google define search query. Merriam-Webster was asking me to subscribe to their Unabridged edition but I'm still unsure if they would have it.

I did find a definition at Your Dictionary though:

  1. A person or thing that diverts or is diverting.
  2. A valve used to change the flow of fluid through a system of pipes.

I'm doubting the word is a real English word.

My context:

He is a diverter from the path of the Lord.

Just to clear the context, I'm referring to someone who diverts others from the path of the Lord since the person who himself has diverted would be an apostate. [Thanks to @DanBron for suggesting this clarification]

Thanks for your time.

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    Diverter is a legitimate word. Bear in mind that dictionaries can't possibly, and therefore do not, list every possible derivative of some stem. Speaking in general terms, so long as you employ standard, productive morphological rules, you can form words as you please and you'll be fine. Having said that, if you really want to see some supper before using a possible neologism, you may like a couple cool tools: onelook.com to search many dictionaries simultaneously, and a corpus like Google nGrams or the COCA. – Dan Bron Sep 19 '15 at 16:47
  • Is it limited to American English? – Khalid Hussain Sep 19 '15 at 16:53
  • I see no annotations in the dictionary entry to suggest that. That said, I just did a couple quick searches in the BNC (BrE) and COCA (AmE) corpora, and diverter does seem more prevalent in there latter than the former. In both cases it's used more frequently as an adjective (diverter valve) than as a noun (wind diverter), and frequently, maybe universally, to refer to devices rather than persons. – Dan Bron Sep 19 '15 at 16:53
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    I have trouble finding the term in Oxford's Dictionaries. – Khalid Hussain Sep 19 '15 at 16:57
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    @Josh61 I have no problem with diverter as a noun. However, my instinctive reading of that sentence was to interpret divert intransitively; I imagined Khalid was talking about a man who had himself diverted: an apostate. My general preference is to use specific terms of art or nomenclature where they are available, and since this kind of person and behavior must have been discussed frequently over the last two millennia of high religion, I imagine such a specific term likely exists. If I were going to answer this question, my approach would be to seek that word. – Dan Bron Sep 19 '15 at 17:32

aberrant: departing from the right, normal, or usual course.

'An aberrant Christian' , 'an aberrant doctrine'

heretic: a professed believer who maintains religious opinions contrary to those accepted by his or her church or rejects doctrines prescribed by that church.

  • heretic is much better than the phrase "a lost cause" ;) – Mazura Oct 7 '16 at 8:52

Edit - (after the question had been edited) - Are you looking for "a subverter of the faith"?

  • subverter - one who undermines the moral principles of (a person, etc); corruptor

If you're looking for "someone who diverts", meaning "amuse",

since we cannot add a sufix to "divert-" so as to get what you're looking for, I suggest you use the word entertainer.

  • divert - to entertain by distracting the attention from worrisome thoughts or cares; amuse. TFD

  • entertain - to hold the attention of (someone) with something amusing or diverting. See Synonyms at amuse. TFD

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    Someone who diverts from the path to the Lord is an entertainer? Well, so long as he does it in an amusing way, why not? ;) – Dan Bron Sep 19 '15 at 17:06

Seducer "to lead astray, as from duty, rectitude, or the like; corrupt." Dictionary.com

This assumes that the example you gave "a ___ from the path of the Lord" is typical of the use you want. If you want a use that said that X diverted Y from a disastrous mistake, then seducer would not be right.


How about tempter or temptation?

tempt: to entice or allure to do something often regarded as unwise, wrong, or immoral

Your example:

He is a tempter from the path of the Lord.


He is a temptation from the path of the Lord.

A tempter or temptation does not so much divert as pull away from the path of the Lord. That may better reflect the sense you're seeking.

Tempter fits well in the sense that it has obvious religious connotations and associations, e.g., Eve tempted by the serpent in the Garden of Eden, Jesus tempted by Satan while fasting in the desert for forty days and forty nights. Ditto re temptation.

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