\ ˈsi-zəm How to pronounce schism (audio) , ˈski- also ˈshi-; among clergy usually ˈsi- How to pronounce schism (audio) \

Definition of schism

1 : division, separation also : discord, disharmony a schism between political parties
2a : formal division in or separation from a church or religious body
b : the offense of promoting schism

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Examples of schism in a Sentence

a schism between leading members of the party The church was divided by schism.
Recent Examples on the Web Some on the right have warned that the German process of reform could lead to a schism, or formal break from Rome. Kirsten Grieshaber And Nicole Winfield, Star Tribune, 4 June 2021 None of the proposals would have extended suffrage to women, which led to a schism among nineteenth-century feminists over whether to oppose the amendment. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 17 May 2021 Germany is no stranger to schism: 500 years ago, Martin Luther launched the Reformation here. NBC News, 12 May 2021 Further demonstrating the schism between the two GOP leaders, one top Republican congressional aide said McCarthy had weeks ago urged Cheney to stop talking about Trump, and her failure to do that has boosted frustration with her. Arkansas Online, 4 May 2021 Family unhappiness, as ever, is a wellspring of private pain, but the royal rift, including the painful schism between Harry and his elder brother, William, is also a public spectacle that has drawn worldwide attention. oregonlive, 17 Apr. 2021 There will be no pep talk from the former GOP president, who helped create a schism within the party on what role, if any, Trump should play in the party's and House Republican's efforts to regain power. Susan Ferrechio, Washington Examiner, 25 Apr. 2021 During a recent Zoom call with editors, founder & CEO Emily Weiss revealed that this schism had emerged early on; readers either craved a mild formula or one packed with actives. Karina Hoshikawa,, 22 Apr. 2021 The political and geographical schism, as well as the collapse of a series of reconciliation agreements, has since stymied any semblance of a functioning democratic process. New York Times, 15 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'schism.' 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 schism

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for schism

Middle English scisme, sisme, cisme "division in the church, dissension in belief, civil strife," borrowed from Anglo-French scisme, borrowed from Late Latin scisma, schisma "division of opinion, dissension in the church," borrowed from Greek schismat-, schísma "cleft, division, (New Testament) division of opinion," from schid-, stem of schízein "to split, separate" + -smat-, -sma, resultative noun suffix — more at shed entry 1

Note: As the spellings suggest, the Middle English and early Modern English pronunciation of this word was with initial [s] rather than [sk]. Hellenized spellings with initial sch- became general in the seventeenth century, though the old pronunciation with initial [s] has persisted until recently.

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Time Traveler for schism

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

16 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Schism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jun. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of schism

formal : a division among the members of a group that occurs because they disagree on something


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