Definition of bifurcate
: to cause to divide into two branches or parts bifurcate a beam of light
: to divide into two branches or parts The stream bifurcates into two narrow channels.
bifurcateplay \(ˌ)bī-ˈfər-kət, -ˌkāt; ˈbī-(ˌ)fər-ˌkāt\ adjective
bifurcate was our Word of the Day on 12/18/2008. Hear the podcast!
Examples of bifurcate in a sentence
The stream bifurcated into two narrow winding channels.
bifurcate a beam of light
Did You Know?
Yogi Berra, the baseball great who was noted for his head-scratching quotes, is purported to have said, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it." Yogi’s advice might not offer much help when making tough decisions in life, but perhaps it will help you remember today’s word, bifurcate. A road that bifurcates splits in two like the one in Yogi’s adage. Other things can bifurcate as well, such as an organization that splits into two factions. Bifurcate derives from the Latin bifurcus, meaning "two-pronged," a combination of the prefix bi- ("two") and the noun furca ("fork"). Furca, as you can probably tell, gave us our word fork.
Origin and Etymology of bifurcate
Medieval Latin bifurcatus, past participle of bifurcare, from Latin bifurcus two-pronged, from bi- + furca fork
First Known Use: 1615
BIFURCATE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of bifurcate for English Language Learners
: to divide into two parts
Medical Definition of bifurcate
: to divide into two branches or parts
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up bifurcate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).