bi·​fur·​ca·​tion | \ˌbī-(ˌ)fər-ˈkā-shən \

Definition of bifurcation 

1a : the point or area at which something divides into two branches or parts : the point at which bifurcating occurs Inflammation may occlude the bifurcation of the trachea.

b : branch

2 : the state of being divided into two branches or parts : the act of bifurcating

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for bifurcation


divarication, divergence, divergency, separation



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of bifurcation in a Sentence

a thoughtful book about the nation's bifurcation into two distinct and antagonistic cultures a divisive issue that caused the bifurcation of the political party

Recent Examples on the Web

This bifurcation of the media poses a challenge for all tech platforms, not just YouTube, that resist taking a stand on what constitutes truth. Issie Lapowsky, WIRED, "YouTube Debuts Plan to Promote and Fund 'Authoritative' News," 9 July 2018 This bifurcation between domestic and foreign monetary policy lacked the discipline of a true gold standard that existed before World War I, dooming the Bretton Woods agreement to failure from the very beginning. WSJ, "Friedman vs. Mundell on Monetary Reform," 6 Apr. 2018 Connecticut is, like California, in the vanguard of progressive blue states marching toward absolute bifurcation of residents living in prosperity or poverty. WSJ, "Election Costs: Least of Connecticut’s Worries," 16 Apr. 2018 The volume hinted at the shape of a skirt, but the bifurcation of the pant legs aided cycling. Christine Ro, The Atlantic, "How Cycling Clothing Opened Doors for Women," 15 Apr. 2018 But that is an artificial bifurcation in a country torn by violence on all sides. Peter Baker, New York Times, "‘Mission Accomplished!’ But What Is the Mission in Syria?," 14 Apr. 2018 But that is an artificial bifurcation in a country torn by violence on all sides. Peter Baker,, "‘Mission accomplished,’ but what is the mission?," 14 Apr. 2018 There has been a sharp bifurcation of the right-of-center media. Jeet Heer, New Republic, "The Lively Irrelevance of Conservative Magazines," 30 Jan. 2018 With the constant disruptions in media, maybe this bifurcation is only natural. Ana Veciana-suarez, miamiherald, "The great literary debate: print or e-reader? | Miami Herald," 19 Mar. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of bifurcation

1615, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for bifurcation

see bifurcate

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about bifurcation

Share bifurcation

Statistics for bifurcation

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bifurcation

The first known use of bifurcation was in 1615

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on bifurcation

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bifurcation Encyclopedia article about bifurcation

Comments on bifurcation

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


playful or foolish behavior

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!