divergence

The point where two things split off from each other is called a divergence. When you're walking in the woods and face a divergence in the path, you have to make a choice about which way to go.

A divergence doesn't have to be a physical split — it can also be a philosophical division. The divergence of opinion between a school board and a group of parents might cause such a heated argument that the students at the meeting are obviously better behaved than the adults. Divergence can also mean a deviation from standards or norms, like the divergence between your state's anti-littering laws and those of your neighboring states.

Definitions of divergence
  1. noun
    the act of moving away in different direction from a common point
    “an angle is formed by the divergence of two straight lines”
    synonyms: divergency
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    type of:
    separation
    the act of dividing or disconnecting
  2. noun
    a difference between conflicting facts or claims or opinions
    “a growing divergence of opinion”
    synonyms: disagreement, discrepancy, variance
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    types:
    allowance, leeway, margin, tolerance
    a permissible difference; allowing some freedom to move within limits
    type of:
    difference
    the quality of being unlike or dissimilar
  3. noun
    a variation that deviates from the standard or norm
    synonyms: departure, deviation, difference
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    types:
    discrepancy, variance, variant
    an event that departs from expectations
    driftage
    the deviation (by a vessel or aircraft) from its intended course due to drifting
    flection, flexion, inflection
    deviation from a straight or normal course
    type of:
    fluctuation, variation
    an instance of change; the rate or magnitude of change
  4. noun
    an infinite series that has no limit
    synonyms: divergency
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    Antonyms:
    convergence, convergency
    the approach of an infinite series to a finite limit
    type of:
    series
    (mathematics) the sum of a finite or infinite sequence of expressions
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