\ 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

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 This sets up a schism possibly between the federal and the state courts. Laura Johnston, cleveland, 15 June 2022 Lawmakers in Jerusalem are deadlocked on renewing the arrangement in a schism that could dissolve the unusual two-tiered legal system and subject the West Bank’s Israelis to the same martial law as their Palestinian neighbors. Shira Rubin, Washington Post, 12 June 2022 Bettag believes the response to the Jan. 6 hearings will likely be a mirror of the country’s current political schism. Stephen Battagliostaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 9 June 2022 Within Ukraine, the war has formalized a long-brewing schism within the Orthodox church. Andrew E. Kramer,, 28 May 2022 The two religious leaders had previously worked together to bridge a 1,000-year-old schism between the Christian churches of the East and West. New York Times, 21 May 2022 At least eight candidates for county or state office attended, highlighting a schism within the Republican Party in Northern Kentucky. Rachel Berry, The Enquirer, 18 Apr. 2022 It’s also the root of a schism between her and the other workers her age, young women with more conservative views. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 27 May 2022 The rise of small-launch companies in Germany, the United Kingdom, and Spain has prompted something of a schism in European policy toward rockets. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, 6 May 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

28 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Schism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jun. 2022.

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Nglish: Translation of schism for Spanish Speakers

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