verb sep·a·rate \ˈse-p(ə-)ˌrāt\

: to cause (two or more people or things) to stop being together, joined, or connected : to make (people or things) separate

: to be between (two things or people)

: to stop being together, joined, or connected : to become separate


Full Definition of SEPARATE

transitive verb
a :  to set or keep apart :  disconnect, sever
b :  to make a distinction between :  discriminate, distinguish <separate religion from magic>
c :  sort <separate mail>
d :  to disperse in space or time :  scatter <widely separated homesteads>
archaic :  to set aside for a special purpose :  choose, dedicate
:  to part by a legal separation:
a :  to sever conjugal ties with
b :  to sever contractual relations with :  discharge <was separated from the army>
:  to block off :  segregate
a :  to isolate from a mixture :  extract <separate cream from milk>
b :  to divide into constituent parts
:  to dislocate (as a shoulder) especially in sports
intransitive verb
:  to become divided or detached
a :  to sever an association :  withdraw
b :  to cease to live together as a married couple
:  to go in different directions
:  to become isolated from a mixture <the crystals separated out>

Examples of SEPARATE

  1. They described the process used to separate cream from milk.
  2. A great distance separated the sisters from each other.
  3. They walked together to the corner, but then they separated and went their separate ways.
  4. The main group separated into several smaller groups.
  5. Oil and water separate when combined together.
  6. The oil separated from the water.
  7. The salt crystals separated out of the liquid.
  8. Though mechanical grain cutters, called reapers, began appearing around 1800, it was with Cyrus H. McCormick's version that agriculture entered the industrial age. Older reapers simply cut and dropped grain; McCormick's cut, separated, and collected it, increasing production and, ultimately, positioning the American Midwest as the breadbasket to the world. —Saveur, June/July 2008

Origin of SEPARATE

Middle English, from Latin separatus, past participle of separare, from se- apart + parare to prepare, procure — more at secede, pare
First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of SEPARATE

separate, part, divide, sever, sunder, divorce mean to become or cause to become disunited or disjointed. separate may imply any of several causes such as dispersion, removal of one from others, or presence of an intervening thing <separated her personal life from her career>. part implies the separating of things or persons in close union or association <vowed never to part>. divide implies separating into pieces or sections by cutting or breaking <civil war divided the nation>. sever implies violence especially in the removal of a part or member <a severed limb>. sunder suggests violent rending or wrenching apart <a city sundered by racial conflict>. divorce implies separating two things that commonly interact and belong together <cannot divorce scientific research from moral responsibility>.

Rhymes with SEPARATE

abdicate, abnegate, abrogate, acclimate, acerbate, acetate, activate, actuate, acylate, adsorbate, advocate, adulate, adumbrate, aggravate, aggregate, agitate, allocate, altercate, ambulate, amputate, animate, annotate, annulate, antedate, antiquate, apartheid, apostate, approbate, arbitrate, arcuate, arrogate, aspirate, auscultate, automate, aviate, bantamweight, Bering Strait, bifurcate, billingsgate, bipinnate, boilerplate, bombinate, brachiate, buffer state, cabinmate, cachinnate, calculate, calibrate, caliphate, candidate, cannulate, cantillate, capitate, captivate, carbonate, carbon-date, carinate, carload rate, castigate, catenate, cavitate, celebrate, cerebrate, chlorinate, circinate, circulate, city-state, client state, cogitate, colligate, collimate, collocate, commentate, commutate, compensate, complicate, concentrate, condensate, confiscate, conglobate, conjugate, consecrate, constellate, consternate, constipate, consummate, contemplate, copperplate, copulate, coronate, correlate, corrugate, coruscate, counterweight, crepitate, criminate, cruciate, cucullate, culminate, cultivate, cumulate, cuneate, cupulate, cuspidate, cyclamate, Davis Strait, deaerate, decimate, decollate, decorate, decussate, defalcate, defecate, deflagrate, dehydrate, delegate, demarcate, demonstrate, denigrate, Denmark Strait, depilate, deviate, deprecate, depredate, derivate, derogate, desecrate, desiccate, designate, desolate, desquamate, detonate, devastate, deviate, digitate, diplomate, discarnate, dislocate, dissertate, dissipate, distillate, divagate, dominate, double date, edentate, educate, elevate, elongate, eluate, emanate, emigrate, emirate, emulate, enervate, ephorate, escalate, estimate, estivate, excavate, exchange rate, exculpate, execrate, expiate, explicate, expurgate, exsiccate, extirpate, extricate, exudate, fabricate, fascinate, fashion plate, featherweight, fecundate, federate, fenestrate, festinate, fibrillate, first estate, flagellate, flocculate, fluctuate, fluoridate, foliate, formulate, fornicate, fourth estate, fractionate, fragmentate, fulminate, fumigate, fustigate, geminate, generate, germinate, glaciate, Golden Gate, graduate, granulate, gratulate, gravitate, heavyweight, hebetate, herniate, hesitate, hibernate, Hudson Strait, hundredweight, hyphenate, ideate, imamate, imbricate, imitate, immigrate, immolate, impetrate, implicate, imprecate, impregnate, incarnate, increate, incubate, inculcate, inculpate, incurvate, indagate, indicate, indurate, infiltrate, in-line skate, in-migrate, innervate, innovate, insensate, inspissate, instigate, insulate, interstate, intestate, intimate, intonate, intraplate, inundate, invocate, iodate, irrigate, irritate, isolate, iterate, jubilate, juniorate, lacerate, laminate, Latinate, laureate, legislate, levigate, levitate, liberate, license plate, liquidate, litigate, littermate, lubricate, macerate, machinate, magistrate, marginate, margravate, marinate, masticate, masturbate, maturate, mediate, medicate, meditate, meliorate, menstruate, microstate, micturate, middleweight, militate, mithridate, mitigate, moderate, modulate, motivate, multistate, mutilate, nation-state, nauseate, navigate, neonate, nictitate, niobate, nominate, numerate, obfuscate, objurgate, obligate, obovate, obviate, on a plate, operate, opiate, orchestrate, ordinate, oscillate, osculate, out-migrate, out-of-date, overstate, overweight, ovulate, paginate, palliate, palpitate, paperweight, patinate, peculate, penetrate, pennyweight, percolate, perennate, perforate, permeate, perpetrate, personate, police state, pollinate, populate, postulate, potentate, predicate, procreate, profligate, promulgate, propagate, prorogate, pullulate, pulmonate, punctuate, quantitate, rabbinate, radiate, real estate, recreate, re-create, reinstate, relegate, relocate, remonstrate, renovate, replicate, reprobate, resonate, retardate, retranslate, roller-skate, roseate, rubricate, ruinate, ruminate, runagate, running mate, rusticate, sagittate, salivate, sanitate, satiate, saturate, scintillate, second-rate, segregate, self-portrait, sequestrate, seriate, sibilate, silver plate, simulate, sinuate, situate, speculate, spoliate, stablemate, starting gate, steady state, stimulate, stipulate, strangulate, stridulate, stylobate, subjugate, sublimate, subrogate, subulate, suffocate, sultanate, Sunda Strait, supplicate, surrogate, syncopate, syndicate, tablemate, tabulate, target date, terminate, tessellate, tête-à-tête, thirty-eight, titillate, titivate, tolerate, transmigrate, transudate, tribulate, tribunate, trifurcate, trilobate, tripinnate, triplicate, tunicate, turbinate, ulcerate, ululate, umbellate, uncinate, underrate, understate, underweight, undulate, ungulate, urinate, vaccinate, vacillate, validate, valuate, variate, vegetate, venerate, ventilate, vertebrate, vicarate, vindicate, violate, vitiate, water gate, Watergate, welfare state, welterweight


adjective sep·a·rate \ˈse-p(ə-)rət\

: not joined, connected, or combined : placed or kept apart

: different from something else : not related

Full Definition of SEPARATE

a :  set or kept apart :  detached
b archaic :  solitary, secluded
c :  immaterial, disembodied
a :  not shared with another :  individual <separate rooms>
b often capitalized :  estranged from a parent body <separate churches>
a :  existing by itself :  autonomous <a separate country>
b :  dissimilar in nature or identity <consulted five separate authorities>
sep·a·rate·ly \-p(ə-)rət-lē, ˈse-pərt-lē\ adverb
sep·a·rate·ness \-nəs\ noun

Examples of SEPARATE

  1. There are separate restrooms for men and women.
  2. The boys have separate rooms.
  3. They slept in separate beds.
  4. We use the same Internet service provider but have separate accounts.
  5. That's an entirely separate issue.
  6. Today, there are an estimated 30,000 teams playing travel ball, which is entirely separate from more long-standing youth organizations like Little League … —Sara Corbett New York Times Sports Magazine, June 2006

Origin of SEPARATE

(see 1separate)
First Known Use: 15th century

Related to SEPARATE


noun sep·a·rate \ˈse-p(ə-)rət\

Definition of SEPARATE

:  offprint
:  an article of dress designed to be worn interchangeably with others to form various costume combinations —usually used in plural

Examples of SEPARATE

  1. Women have a very strong sense of what works for them, says Lyn Devon, the New York designer who sells a nuanced line of silk separates and tailored dresses from her SoHo studio. —Jane Herman, Vogue, June 2006

Origin of SEPARATE

(see 1separate)
First Known Use: 1886


verb sep·a·rate \ˈsep-(ə-)ˌrāt\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of SEPARATE

transitive verb
:  to isolate from a mixture :  extract
:  dislocate <separated his right shoulder>
intransitive verb
:  to become isolated from a mixture


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