divide

1 of 2

verb

di·​vide də-ˈvīd How to pronounce divide (audio)
divided; dividing

transitive verb

1
a
: to separate into two or more parts, areas, or groups
divide the city into wards
b
: to separate into classes, categories, or divisions
divide history into epochs
c
: cleave, part
a ship dividing the waves
2
a
: to separate into portions and give out in shares : distribute
divide profits
b
: to possess, enjoy, or make use of in common
divide the blame
c
: apportion
divides her time between the office and home
3
a
: to cause to be separate, distinct, or apart from one another
fields divided by stone walls
b
: to separate into opposing sides or parties
the issues that divide us
c
: to cause (a parliamentary body) to vote by division
4
a
: to subject (a number or quantity) to the operation of finding how many times it contains another number or quantity
divide 42 by 14
b
: to be used as a divisor with respect to (a dividend)
4 divides 16 evenly
c
: to use as a divisor
used with into
divide 14 into 42

intransitive verb

1
: to perform mathematical division
2
a(1)
: to undergo replication, multiplication, fission, or separation into parts
(2)
: to branch out
b
: to become separated or disunited especially in opinion or interest
dividable adjective

divide

2 of 2

noun

1
: an act of dividing
2
a
: a dividing ridge between drainage areas
b
: a point or line of division or disagreement
Choose the Right Synonym for divide

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

distribute, dispense, divide, deal, dole out mean to give out, usually in shares, to each member of a group.

distribute implies an apportioning by separation of something into parts, units, or amounts.

distributed food to the needy

dispense suggests the giving of a carefully weighed or measured portion to each of a group according to due or need.

dispensed wisdom to the students

divide stresses the separation of a whole into parts and implies that the parts are equal.

three charitable groups divided the proceeds

deal emphasizes the allotment of something piece by piece.

deal out equipment and supplies

dole out implies a carefully measured portion of something that is often in short supply.

doled out what little food there was

Example Sentences

Verb She divided the pie into eight pieces. The equator divides the Earth into two hemispheres. The river divides after the bridge. A tall fence divides the two yards.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
What is most striking about the film, however, is the us-versus-them divide that the film insists exists between the chefs and their customers. Laurie Ochoa, Los Angeles Times, 19 Nov. 2022 Just before serving, stir the champagne or sparkling wine into the strawberry mixture to thoroughly combine, then divide among four small bowls. Kristen Hartke, Washington Post, 18 Nov. 2022 While opening the floor to people with differing viewpoints on the topics that currently divide the nation could prove tumultuous in the hands of the wrong host, Cornish is up for the challenge. Rivea Ruff, Essence, 17 Nov. 2022 In the Senate, meanwhile, GOP leader Mitch McConnell, doomed to remain in the minority, faces a challenge from Senator Rick Scott of Florida that seems unlikely to succeed but will further divide the party’s usually cohesive ranks. Time, 16 Nov. 2022 Telomeres play an essential role in determining how many times a cell can divide. Jonathan Alder, The Conversation, 10 Nov. 2022 Cancer arises when cells acquire genetic mutations and divide uncontrollably. WIRED, 10 Nov. 2022 But the issue could divide Republicans going forward, The New York Times reports. Joel Mathis, The Week, 10 Nov. 2022 Just by looking at the Kaktovik numerals, students could see how to add, subtract and even divide. Alena Naiden, Anchorage Daily News, 7 Nov. 2022
Noun
Probing the divide between that work and the private male nudes that came to light in the 1980s is crucial to understanding Sargent, and Fisher has worked hard to integrate those two halves into a coherent portrait of a complicated man. Wendy Smith, BostonGlobe.com, 24 Nov. 2022 The rising cost of seemingly everything has created an even bigger divide between what different people can afford. James Brown, CBS News, 22 Nov. 2022 There is a widening divide between the party’s traditional pro-business faction and populists who believe that many U.S. corporations are too enamored with progressive causes. Brody Mullins, WSJ, 21 Nov. 2022 But together these nods from party bigwigs — who are popular in the city — highlighted the partisan divide between two people who called themselves Democrats and blunted Caruso’s ascent in the last weeks of the race. Los Angeles Times, 18 Nov. 2022 The divide between these two factions at the U.N. Climate Change Conference, also known as COP27, could be seen in an inconclusive 20-page document released early Thursday morning by the Egyptian COP27 presidency. Sarah Kaplan, Evan Halper And Timothy Puko, Anchorage Daily News, 17 Nov. 2022 The draft contained two options that reflect the divide between rich and poor nations. Time, 14 Nov. 2022 Today, the ideology of Christian nationalism appears to be gaining influence, and polling on the issue shows a divide between the parties. Oren Oppenheim, ABC News, 7 Nov. 2022 Located on the eastern edge of the preserve’s north region, the easy trail marks the divide between pristine desert and a growing suburban footprint. Mare Czinar, The Arizona Republic, 29 Oct. 2022 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English, from Latin dividere, from dis- + -videre to separate — more at widow

First Known Use

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun

1642, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of divide was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near divide

Cite this Entry

“Divide.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/divide. Accessed 8 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

divide

1 of 2 verb
di·​vide də-ˈvīd How to pronounce divide (audio)
divided; dividing
1
a
: to separate into two or more parts or pieces
b
: to separate into classes or categories
2
a
: to give out in shares
b
: to own or use in common : share
3
: to cause to be separate, different, or apart from one another
4
a
: to perform or use in mathematical division
b
: to subject (a number) to the operation of finding how many times it contains another number
divide 42 by 14
c
: to use as a divisor
divide 14 into 42
5
a
: to undergo cell division
the cell divides

divide

2 of 2 noun
: a dividing ridge between drainage areas : watershed

Medical Definition

divide

verb
di·​vide də-ˈvīd How to pronounce divide (audio)
divided; dividing

transitive verb

: to separate into two or more parts
divide a nerve surgically

intransitive verb

: to undergo replication, multiplication, fission, or separation into parts
actively dividing cells

More from Merriam-Webster on divide

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