di·​vi·​sion | \də-ˈvi-zhən \

Definition of division 

1a : the act or process of dividing : the state of being divided

b : the act, process, or an instance of distributing among a number : distribution

2 : one of the parts or groupings into which a whole is divided or is divisible

3 : the condition or an instance of being divided in opinion or interest : disagreement, disunity exploited the divisions between the two countries

4a : something that divides, separates, or marks off

b : the act, process, or an instance of separating or keeping apart : separation

5 : the mathematical operation of dividing something

6a : a self-contained major military unit capable of independent action

b : a tactical military unit composed of headquarters and usually three to five brigades

c(1) : the basic naval administrative unit

(2) : a tactical subdivision of a squadron of ships

d : a unit of the U.S. Air Force higher than a wing and lower than an air force

7a : a portion of a territorial unit marked off for a particular purpose (such as administrative or judicial functions)

b : an administrative or operating unit of a governmental, business, or educational organization

8 : the physical separation into different lobbies of the members of a parliamentary body voting for and against a question

9 : plant propagation by dividing parts and planting segments capable of producing roots and shoots

10 : a group of organisms forming part of a larger group specifically : a primary category of the plant kingdom in biological taxonomy that is typically equivalent to a phylum

11 : a competitive class or category (as in boxing or wrestling)

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Other Words from division

divisional \ -​ˈvizh-​nəl , -​ˈvi-​zhə-​nᵊl \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for division

part, portion, piece, member, division, section, segment, fragment mean something less than the whole. part is a general term appropriate when indefiniteness is required. they ran only part of the way portion implies an assigned or allotted part. cut the pie into six portions piece applies to a separate or detached part of a whole. a puzzle with 500 pieces member suggests one of the functional units composing a body. a structural member division applies to a large or diversified part. the manufacturing division of the company section applies to a relatively small or uniform part. the entertainment section of the newspaper segment applies to a part separated or marked out by or as if by natural lines of cleavage. the retired segment of the population fragment applies to a part produced by or as if by breaking off. only a fragment of the play still exists

Examples of division in a Sentence

the process of cell division a division of profits into equal shares After learning multiplication, the students were taught division.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The Seahawks may have had a bye last week, but the rest of their division kept playing (and mostly, losing). Mike Vorel, The Seattle Times, "NFC West Awards Week 8: We name the MVP, least valuable player, most dramatic storyline and more," 26 Oct. 2018 In January, Pfizer pulled its entire neuroscience division, setting aside $150 million instead to fund startups. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "The Heroes of Science Who Are Unlocking the Brain," 3 Oct. 2018 Even after refrigerating 24 hours, there wasn’t a clear division between cream and liquid, so scooping out the white stuff wasn’t easy. Allison Young, Good Housekeeping, "The 7 Best Brands of Canned Coconut Milk," 4 Aug. 2018 Our Global Employment Outsourcing division manages other companies’ full-time employees working in foreign countries. Ilene Bassler, Houston Chronicle, "Q&A: Strict immigration policies ripple through talent pool," 12 July 2018 At present, the main check on the Republican use of that dominance is their internal division. The Economist, "America’s electoral system gives the Republicans advantages over Democrats," 12 July 2018 Three are leading their division and the Cardinals are a handful of games over .500. Blair Kerkhoff, kansascity, "Royals’ TV ratings drop but remain among baseball’s best," 12 July 2018 But, given the state of its heavyweight division, the same cannot be said for the UFC. Steven Ruiz, For The Win, "Daniel Cormier and Brock Lesnar cut cringy promo for a fight we don't need," 8 July 2018 Brothers Brody and Gage Sather, of Havre de Grace, took first place in their respective age divisions. David Anderson, The Aegis, "Family entertainment abounds in Bel Air on July 4," 4 July 2018

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

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First Known Use of division

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

History and Etymology for division

Middle English, from Anglo-French devision, from Latin division-, divisio, from dividere to divide

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Statistics for division

Last Updated

17 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for division

The first known use of division was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of division

: the act or process of dividing something into parts : the way that something is divided

: something that physically divides or separates something else

mathematics : the process of finding out how many times one number is contained in another


di·​vi·​sion | \də-ˈvi-zhən \

Kids Definition of division

1 : the act or process of dividing or separating : the state of being divided or separated cell division

2 : the mathematical process of finding out how many times one number is contained in another

3 : something that divides, separates, or marks off The river is the division between the two towns.

4 : one of the parts or groups that make up a whole

5 : a large military unit

6 : a level of competitors He finished third in his weight division.

7 : a group of plants that ranks above the class and below the kingdom and in scientific classification is typically equal to a phylum


di·​vi·​sion | \də-ˈvizh-ən \

Medical Definition of division 

1 : the act or process of dividing : the state of being divided — see cell division

2 : a group of organisms forming part of a larger group specifically : a primary category of the plant kingdom that is typically equivalent to a phylum

Other Words from division

divisional \ -​ˈvizh-​nəl, -​ˈvizh-​ən-​ᵊl \ adjective

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Comments on division

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by force of circumstances

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