bi·​fur·​cate | \ ˈbī-(ˌ)fər-ˌkāt How to pronounce bifurcate (audio) , bī-ˈfər- \
bifurcated; bifurcating

Definition of bifurcate

transitive verb

: to cause to divide into two branches or parts bifurcate a beam of light

intransitive verb

: to divide into two branches or parts The stream bifurcates into two narrow channels.

Other Words from bifurcate

bifurcate \ (ˌ)bī-​ˈfər-​kət How to pronounce bifurcate (audio) , -​ˌkāt ; ˈbī-​(ˌ)fər-​ˌkāt \ adjective

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 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.

Examples of bifurcate in a Sentence

The stream bifurcated into two narrow winding channels. bifurcate a beam of light
Recent Examples on the Web According to court documents obtained by PEOPLE, Bertinelli filed a 13-page request to bifurcate her marital status from financial issues when her ex-husband asked for $50,000 per month in spousal support. Natalia Senanayake, Peoplemag, 4 Aug. 2022 On Wednesday, the Food Network host filed a 13-page request to bifurcate her marital status from financial issues in her and Tom Vitale's divorce, according to court records obtained by PEOPLE. Antonia Debianchi,, 18 July 2022 He was meant to chat with Jeremy Renner, but when the Hawkeye star failed to show Brolin had no choice but to bifurcate himself and occupy both seats. Christian Holub,, 13 June 2022 Such a strategy should not bifurcate experiences between the physical and digital worlds, but rather employ all the tools at their disposal to harmonize those channels and allow retailers to fulfill customer demands more fluidly. Guy Courtin, Forbes, 28 Oct. 2021 Google’s decision Wednesday to move away from individualized user tracking in its own ad operations means digital advertising could bifurcate, with a Google ecosystem that has one set of rules and the rest of the web following another. Patience Haggin, WSJ, 4 Mar. 2021 What is needed, scientists said in interviews, is for the city or another entity to essentially bifurcate the current coronavirus testing process. Joseph Goldstein, New York Times, 3 Feb. 2021 That episode taught many to bifurcate their CNN-watching and market-tracking brains. Justina Lee,, 15 June 2020 But the approach has only exacerbated capital outflows, bifurcated the market and widened bid-ask spreads, giving way to erratic price swings. Donal Griffin,, 24 May 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bifurcate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of bifurcate

1615, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for bifurcate

Medieval Latin bifurcatus, past participle of bifurcare, from Latin bifurcus two-pronged, from bi- + furca fork

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The first known use of bifurcate was in 1615

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Last Updated

11 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Bifurcate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for bifurcate


intransitive verb
bi·​fur·​cate | \ ˈbī-(ˌ)fər-ˌkāt How to pronounce bifurcate (audio) , bī-ˈfər- How to pronounce bifurcate (audio) \
bifurcated; bifurcating

Medical Definition of bifurcate

: to divide into two branches or parts

Other Words from bifurcate

bifurcate \ (ˈ)bī-​ˈfər-​kət How to pronounce bifurcate (audio) , -​ˌkāt; ˈbī-​(ˌ)fər-​ˌkāt How to pronounce bifurcate (audio) \ or bifurcated \ -​ˌkāt-​əd How to pronounce bifurcate (audio) \ adjective
bifurcation \ ˌbī-​(ˌ)fər-​ˈkā-​shən How to pronounce bifurcate (audio) \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on bifurcate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bifurcate

Britannica English: Translation of bifurcate for Arabic Speakers


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