schism

noun

ˈsi-zəm How to pronounce schism (audio)
ˈski-,
 also  ˈshi-;
among clergy usually
ˈsi- How to pronounce schism (audio)
1
: division, separation
also : discord, disharmony
a schism between political parties
2
a
: 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 schism is a microcosm of a larger, equally contentious debate over how to define autism itself. Jessica Winter, The New Yorker, 12 Feb. 2024 The fallout and the aftermath The schism cost both men millions. Sunny Nagpaul, Fortune, 11 Feb. 2024 The schism deepened last fall, when General Zaluzhny published an essay declaring the fighting a deadlock, contradicting Mr. Zelensky’s continual, hopeful assertions of progress. Marc Santora, New York Times, 8 Feb. 2024 Fleetwood Mac aren’t really even a band at this point thanks to McVie’s death in 2022, not to mention the nasty schism between Nicks and Buckingham that led to a lawsuit and a 2018-19 tour where he was replaced by Mike Campbell of the Heartbreakers and Neil Finn of Crowded House. Andy Greene, Rolling Stone, 30 Jan. 2024 Mormonism had to come of age amid the trappings of modernity—nosy newspapermen, tell-all memoirs, civil-rights movements—and its schisms have brought a certain glee to mainstream Christians, who often seem to resent it for being young and homegrown. Dan Piepenbring, Harper's Magazine, 14 Dec. 2023 The schism turned out to be even more catastrophic than either side could have imagined. Indrani Sen, Fortune, 30 Jan. 2024 Ohio legislators banned gender-affirming care for minors Wednesday, overriding Republican Gov. Mike DeWine’s December veto of the bill in an intraparty schism and joining more than 20 states that have levied similar restrictions in recent years. Anumita Kaur, Washington Post, 24 Jan. 2024 Equally divisive is the schism between Jews who fear a rise of anti-Jewish bias and those who worry that such concerns are stifling free speech. Katherine Rosman Jonah Markowitz, New York Times, 20 Dec. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'schism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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.

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near schism

Cite this Entry

“Schism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/schism. Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

schism

noun
1
b
: lack of harmony : discord
2
a
: division in or separation from a church or religious body
b
: the offense of promoting schism

More from Merriam-Webster on schism

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