\ 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 And now there is the following schism: the fact that he will be rescued is for him beyond doubt, irrespective of his will, simply by virtue of the weight of his victor’s personality. Franz Kafka, The New Yorker, "The Rescue Will Begin in Its Own Time," 22 June 2020 Still, the week's events point to a culture-war schism in the GOP that Democrats are happy to exploit, even as Republicans struggle to prevent moderate suburban voters from deserting them. Alan Fram, Anchorage Daily News, "Supreme Court decision upholding LGBTQ rights spotlights a Republican divide," 17 June 2020 This kind of schism between the court’s five conservatives has not been unusual since President Donald Trump consolidated their majority with the appointments of Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh. Henry Gass, The Christian Science Monitor, "Why Gorsuch upheld civil rights for LGBTQ Americans," 16 June 2020 Within the county leadership, though, a schism developed over the definition of obligation and service. Keith Schneider, STAT, "Postcard from the edge: A rural getaway, protected from Covid-19, fears it may be swallowed into the pandemic," 15 June 2020 Defense Secretary Mark Esper and General Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, resisted the president, leaving a deep schism between the commander in chief and military. Peter Baker,, "Trump speaks at West Point graduation amid tensions with military leaders," 13 June 2020 The Nizaris’ origins go back to the original schism in Islam in A.D. 632, when an argument over who should succeed the Prophet Muhammad as imam, or leader, split the Muslim community into Shiites and Sunnis. Erin Blakemore, National Geographic, "Was the medieval order of Assassins a real thing?," 1 June 2020 The threat of criminal prosecution led Levandowski to plead the Fifth Amendment during testimony in the civil trial between Waymo and Uber, ultimately contributing to a schism between Uber and Levandowski. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Engineer at the center of Waymo/Uber legal battle declares bankruptcy," 5 Mar. 2020 The government has yet to take further action, but the spat appears to confirm a schism within the country’s ruling elite. Nabih Bulos, Los Angeles Times, "Syrian President Bashar Assad faces rare dissent from a top financial ally, cousin Rami Makhlouf," 8 May 2020

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, from Anglo-French scisme, cisme, from Late Latin schismat-, schisma, from Greek, cleft, division, from schizein to split — more at shed entry 1

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Time Traveler for schism

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

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Last Updated

27 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Schism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2020.

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How to pronounce schism (audio) How to pronounce schism (audio)

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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