"different in kind, not alike, essentially different," late 14c., a specialized use of divers (q.v.), in some cases probably directly from Latin diversus "turned different ways." In Middle English it also could mean "disagreeable, unkind, hostile" (mid-14c.). The differentiation in spelling (perhaps by analogy with converse, traverse, etc.) and meaning prevailed after c. 1700. The sense of "including and promoting persons of previously under-represented minority identities" is from 1990s. Related: Diversely.