v. sep·a·rat·ed, sep·a·rat·ing, sep·a·rates
a. To set or keep apart; disunite.
b. To space apart; scatter: small farms that were separated one from another by miles of open land.
c. To sort: separate mail by postal zones.
2. To differentiate or discriminate between; distinguish: a researcher who separated the various ethnic components of the population sample.
3. To remove from a mixture or combination; isolate.
4. To part (a couple), often by decree: She was separated from her husband last year.
5. To terminate a contractual relationship, as military service, with; discharge.
1. To come apart.
2. To withdraw: The state threatened to separate from the Union.
3. To part company; disperse.
4. To stop living together as spouses.
5. To become divided into components or parts: Oil and water tend to separate.
adj. (spr-t, sprt)
1. Set or kept apart; disunited: Libraries often have a separate section for reference books.
a. Existing as an independent entity.
b. often Separate Having undergone schism or estrangement from a parent body: Separate churches.
3. Dissimilar from all others; distinct: a policemans way of being separate from you even when he was being nice (John le Carré).
4. Not shared; individual: two people who held separate views on the issue.
5. Archaic Withdrawn from others; solitary.
[Middle English separaten
, from Latin spartus
, past participle of sparre
; see s(w)e-
in Indo-European roots + parre
, to prepare
; see per-1
in Indo-European roots.]
sepa·rate·ly adv. sepa·rate·ness n. Synonyms: separate, divide, part, sever, sunder, divorce
These verbs mean to become or cause to become parted, disconnected, or disunited. Separate
applies both to putting apart and to keeping apart: In the darkness and confusion, the bands of these commanders became separated from each other
(Washington Irving). Divide
implies separation by or as if by cutting or splitting into parts or shares; the term often refers to separation into opposing or hostile groups: We divided the orange into segments. A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free
(Abraham Lincoln). Part
refers most often to the separation of closely associated persons or things: Because ... nothing that God or Satan could inflict would have parted us
(Emily Brontë). Sever
usually implies abruptness and force: His head was nearly severed from his body
(H.G. Wells). Sunder
stresses violent tearing or wrenching apart: The country was sundered by civil war. Divorce
implies complete separation: a priest and a soldier, two classes of men circumstantially divorced from the kind and homely ties of life
(Robert Louis Stevenson). See Also Synonyms at distinct