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verb sep·a·rate \ˈse-p(ə-)ˌrāt\

Simple Definition of separate

  • : 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


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1a :  to set or keep apart :  disconnect, severb :  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>

  3. 2 archaic :  to set aside for a special purpose :  choose, dedicate

  4. 3 :  to part by a legal separation:a :  to sever conjugal ties withb :  to sever contractual relations with :  discharge <was separated from the army>

  5. 4 :  to block off :  segregate

  6. 5a :  to isolate from a mixture :  extract <separate cream from milk>b :  to divide into constituent parts

  7. 6 :  to dislocate (as a shoulder) especially in sports

  8. intransitive verb
  9. 1 :  to become divided or detached

  10. 2a :  to sever an association :  withdrawb :  to cease to live together as a married couple

  11. 3 :  to go in different directions

  12. 4 :  to become isolated from a mixture <the crystals separated out>

Examples of separate

  1. 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

  2. Xanthan gum, for instance … is used in bottled salad dressing to slow the settling of the spice particles and keep water and oil from separating. —Kenneth Chang, New York Times, 6 Nov. 2007

  3. The fact is that Washington has relaxed financial regulations under both Democratic and Republican administrations, opening the doors to conflicts of interest between brokers and investment bankers. In 1998, government, despite concerns, refused to separate consulting and auditing business. —Jeff Madrick, New York Times Book Review, 29 Jan. 2006

  4. On July 11 Brinkley's publicist announced the couple had separated. “She has been extremely concerned about the impact of this situation on her children and felt it was very important to protect them and take them away for a little bit,” says one of Brinkley's close friends. “She is totally shocked and just devastated.” —Ericka Souter et al., People, 31 July 2006

  5. They described the process used to separate cream from milk.

  6. A great distance separated the sisters from each other.

  7. They walked together to the corner, but then they separated and went their separate ways.

  8. The main group separated into several smaller groups.

  9. Oil and water separate when combined together.

  10. The oil separated from the water.

  11. The salt crystals separated out of the liquid.

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\

Simple Definition of separate

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

  • : different from something else : not related

Full Definition of separate

  1. 1a :  set or kept apart :  detachedb archaic :  solitary, secludedc :  immaterial, disembodied

  2. 2a :  not shared with another :  individual <separate rooms>b often capitalized :  estranged from a parent body <separate churches>

  3. 3a :  existing by itself :  autonomous <a separate country>b :  dissimilar in nature or identity <consulted five separate authorities>

sep·a·rate·ly play \-p(ə-)rət-lē, ˈse-pərt-lē\ adverb
sep·a·rate·ness play \-nəs\ noun

Examples of separate

  1. 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

  2. On my last visit to Lucio, I went with a Spanish TV starlet whose sultry looks helped us land a prime table. Dining at separate tables around us were the Duchess of Badajoz, the king's sister; novelist Mario Vargas Llosa; and a gentleman rumored to be Spain's richest man. —Anya von Bremzen, Saveur, November 2006

  3. A variation of these reactions is reflected in the American deaf community, which is divided into two groups. One rejects the notion that they are disabled. Rather, they claim, they are a separate culture with its own language. The second group defines its deafness as a disability and is more likely to assimilate into the able-bodied world. —Mary Grimley Mason, Working Against Odds, 2004

  4. There are separate restrooms for men and women.

  5. The boys have separate rooms.

  6. They slept in separate beds.

  7. We use the same Internet service provider but have separate accounts.

  8. That's an entirely separate issue.

Origin of separate

(see 1separate)

First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of separate

distinct, separate, discrete mean not being each and every one the same. distinct indicates that something is distinguished by the mind or eye as being apart or different from others <two distinct versions>. separate often stresses lack of connection or a difference in identity between two things <separate rooms>. discrete strongly emphasizes individuality and lack of connection <broke the job down into discrete stages>.



noun sep·a·rate \ˈse-p(ə-)rət\

Definition of separate

  1. 1 :  offprint

  2. 2 :  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

Medical Dictionary


verb sep·a·rate \ˈsep-(ə-)ˌrāt\

Medical Definition of separate


  1. transitive verb

  2. 1:  to isolate from a mixture :  extract

  3. 2:  dislocate <separated his right shoulder>

  4. intransitive verb

  5. :  to become isolated from a mixture

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up separate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 12, 2016

of, relating to, or suggestive of marble

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