separate

verb
sep·a·rate | \ˈse-pə-ˌrāt, ˈse-ˌprāt\
separated; separating

Definition of separate 

(Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to set or keep apart : disconnect, sever

b : to make a distinction between : discriminate, distinguish separate religion from magic

c : sort separate mail

d : to disperse in space or time : scatter widely separated homesteads

2 archaic : to set aside for a special purpose : choose, dedicate

3 : to part by a legal separation:

a : to sever conjugal ties with

b : to sever contractual relations with : discharge was separated from the army

4 : to block off : segregate

5a : to isolate from a mixture : extract separate cream from milk

b : to divide into constituent parts

6 : to dislocate (something, such as a shoulder) especially in sports

intransitive verb

1 : to become divided or detached

2a : to sever an association : withdraw

b : to cease to live together as a married couple

3 : to go in different directions

4 : to become isolated from a mixture the crystals separated out

separate

adjective
sep·a·rate | \ˈse-p(ə-)rət \

Definition of separate (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : set or kept apart : detached

b archaic : solitary, secluded

c : immaterial, disembodied

2a : not shared with another : individual separate rooms

b often capitalized : estranged from a parent body separate churches

3a : existing by itself : autonomous a separate country

b : dissimilar in nature or identity consulted five separate authorities

separate

noun
sep·a·rate | \ˈse-p(ə-)rət \

Definition of separate (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : offprint

2 : an article of dress designed to be worn interchangeably with others to form various costume combinations usually used in plural

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Other Words from separate

Adjective

separately \ˈse-p(ə-)rət-lē, ˈse-pərt-lē \ adverb
separateness \ˈse-p(ə-)rət-nəs \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for separate

Verb

separate, part, divide, sever, sunder, divorce mean to become or cause to become disunited or disjointed. separate may imply any of several causes such as dispersion, removal of one from others, or presence of an intervening thing. separated her personal life from her career part implies the separating of things or persons in close union or association. vowed never to part divide implies separating into pieces or sections by cutting or breaking. civil war divided the nation sever implies violence especially in the removal of a part or member. a severed limb sunder suggests violent rending or wrenching apart. a city sundered by racial conflict divorce implies separating two things that commonly interact and belong together. cannot divorce scientific research from moral responsibility

Adjective

distinct, separate, discrete mean not being each and every one the same. distinct indicates that something is distinguished by the mind or eye as being apart or different from others. two distinct versions separate often stresses lack of connection or a difference in identity between two things. separate rooms discrete strongly emphasizes individuality and lack of connection. broke the job down into discrete stages

Verb

separate, part, and divide mean to break into parts or to keep apart. separate may be used when things have been put into groups, or a thing has been removed from a group, or something has been inserted between like things. Separate the good eggs from the bad ones. A fence separates the two yards. part is used when the things to be separated are closely joined in some way. Only death could part the two friends. divide means separating by cutting or breaking into pieces or sections. Divide the pie into six equal portions.

Examples of separate in a Sentence

Verb

Though mechanical grain cutters, called reapers, began appearing around 1800, it was with Cyrus H. McCormick's version that agriculture entered the industrial age. Older reapers simply cut and dropped grain; McCormick's cut, separated, and collected it, increasing production and, ultimately, positioning the American Midwest as the breadbasket to the world. Saveur, June/July 2008 Xanthan gum, for instance … is used in bottled salad dressing to slow the settling of the spice particles and keep water and oil from separating. — Kenneth Chang, New York Times, 6 Nov. 2007 The fact is that Washington has relaxed financial regulations under both Democratic and Republican administrations, opening the doors to conflicts of interest between brokers and investment bankers. In 1998, government, despite concerns, refused to separate consulting and auditing business. — Jeff Madrick, New York Times Book Review, 29 Jan. 2006 On July 11 Brinkley's publicist announced the couple had separated. "She has been extremely concerned about the impact of this situation on her children and felt it was very important to protect them and take them away for a little bit," says one of Brinkley's close friends. "She is totally shocked and just devastated." — Ericka Souter et al., People, 31 July 2006 They described the process used to separate cream from milk. A great distance separated the sisters from each other. They walked together to the corner, but then they separated and went their separate ways. The main group separated into several smaller groups. Oil and water separate when combined together. The oil separated from the water. The salt crystals separated out of the liquid.

Adjective

Today, there are an estimated 30,000 teams playing travel ball, which is entirely separate from more long-standing youth organizations like Little League … — Sara Corbett, New York Times Sports Magazine, June 2006 On my last visit to Lucio, I went with a Spanish TV starlet whose sultry looks helped us land a prime table. Dining at separate tables around us were the Duchess of Badajoz, the king's sister; novelist Mario Vargas Llosa; and a gentleman rumored to be Spain's richest man. — Anya von Bremzen, Saveur, November 2006 A variation of these reactions is reflected in the American deaf community, which is divided into two groups. One rejects the notion that they are disabled. Rather, they claim, they are a separate culture with its own language. The second group defines its deafness as a disability and is more likely to assimilate into the able-bodied world. — Mary Grimley Mason, Working Against Odds, 2004 There are separate restrooms for men and women. The boys have separate rooms. They slept in separate beds. We use the same Internet service provider but have separate accounts. That's an entirely separate issue.

Noun

"Women have a very strong sense of what works for them," says Lyn Devon, the New York designer who sells a nuanced line of silk separates and tailored dresses from her SoHo studio. — Jane Herman, Vogue, June 2006

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In recent weeks, Trump bowed to tremendous political pressure and issued an executive order ending his administration's practice of separating migrant children from their parents when families cross the border with Mexico illegally. Jesse J. Holland And Russell Contreras, chicagotribune.com, "Trump draws fierce criticism for saying immigration is 'changing the culture' of Europe for worse," 14 July 2018 Rubber gaskets separate the 10-and-a-half foot tall glass walls from the concrete roof to prevent cracking in case of shifts in the structure. David Gleisner, Daily Southtown, "Rare glass house carved into hillside hits the market in Olympia Fields," 14 July 2018 On Thursday, CBS News' Haley Joelle Ott reports protesters numbering in the dozens showed up to express their outrage over the Trump administration's recently policy about separating children from their families at the border. CBS News, "Trump's London stay met by protesters," 12 July 2018 On Saturday, McConnell was eating lunch on Bardstown Road when a group of protesters confronted the senator over the Trump administration's policy of separating migrant children from their families at the border. Thomas Novelly, The Courier-Journal, "Hecklers spoil another Mitch McConnell meal by blaring 'Fight The Power'," 9 July 2018 This one referenced a protest of the Trump administration's policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the border. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "Julia Roberts Spent Her 4th of July Week with the Kennedys in Hyannisport," 5 July 2018 The march protested the Trump administration's policy of separating migrant children from their parents upon arrival to the U.S. David Yaffe-bellany, star-telegram, "Next to shelter, church's congregation defends family separations," 3 July 2018 Tamir Kalifa/Getty Images In early June, widespread public backlash grew over the practice of separating undocumented immigrant children from their parents, many of whom were under the age of 5. Jared Mcdonald, Candace Turitto, Vox, "Honesty first: how to make politicians pay for lying," 2 July 2018 In a statement released last week, the RK Group condemned President Donald Trump’s recently rescinded policy of separating immigrant children from their parents in order to prosecute the adults. Brian Chasnoff, San Antonio Express-News, "Chambers split on RK Group subcontract," 2 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

One man was killed and another was injured following separate shootings in Baltimore on Tuesday morning. Nicholas Bogel-burroughs, baltimoresun.com, "Two men shot, one fatally, in Baltimore in separate Tuesday morning shootings," 10 July 2018 Milwaukee police have identified two men killed in separate shootings as Enrique Galvan-Franco, 55, and Carlos Q. Phillips, 31. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Police identify Milwaukee homicide victims," 10 July 2018 On Wednesday, two Philadelphia teens, ages 16 and 17, were wounded in separate shootings, the latest in a bleak trend quantified in a new analysis from Yale University. Ian Haydon, Philly.com, "Kids and guns: Study finds urban-rural divide that changes with age," 9 July 2018 During the months-long investigation, police were able to link two guns from three separate shootings that left five people injured and one dead. Michael Williams, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Code words, YouTube videos and shell casings lead Sanford police to homicide suspect," 7 July 2018 By daybreak, one person was dead and two others wounded in three separate shootings on Forsyth Street. Alexis Stevens, ajc, "3 shootings within 3 hours on downtown Atlanta’s Forsyth Street," 29 June 2018 Three people were shot, one fatally, in two separate shootings In New Haven within two hours Friday night into Saturday. David Owens, courant.com, "Two Shootings, One Fatal, Within Hours In New Haven," 23 June 2018 As a result, this investigation focused narrowly on only one gang, resulting in the 10 arrests and nine criminal cases that go back to two separate non-fatal shootings last August. Julia Sclafani, sacbee, "Data-driven policing leads to gang arrests in 3 Stockton homicides," 21 June 2018 Gelernt responded that the parent would then have to file a separate lawsuit under due process law. Kristina Davis, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Trump administration says detained parents must decide whether to keep families intact," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

While its first collection featured 38 pieces, mostly luxurious robes and slip dresses, Attico has since evolved to include separates, eveningwear, shoes and bags. Lindzi Scharf, latimes.com, "Attico designers take inspiration from 'Grey Gardens' as they build on their 'modern vintage' approach," 12 July 2018 Pack a few separates, too, like this red lace off-the-shoulder crop top and pair it with some button-front cut-offs. Kami Phillips, PEOPLE.com, "Going Away for Memorial Day Weekend? Pack These 12 Essentials," 16 May 2018 Marc by Marc Jacobs Fall 2015; Baja East Spring 2018 At its height, the Marc by Marc Jacobs brand was the go-to for wallflower types looking for kooky prints and oddly proportioned separates. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "What Will John Targon Bring to Marc Jacobs? 5 Ideas from the Baja East Runway," 2 Feb. 2018 Over the weekend, however, the Duchess of Sussex took every opportunity to break out her more casual, breezy separates. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Shop Meghan Markle's Bright Yellow Dress from the 'Your Commonwealth' Youth Challenge Reception," 5 July 2018 The separates come as a refreshing look from the duchess, who's been wearing dress after dress at her recent royal engagements. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Wears a Roland Mouret Dress and Givenchy Suit in Ireland with Prince Harry," 11 July 2018 Ilyas designed AmberNoon — a play on afternoon that incorporates Ilyas’ daughter’s first name — with the idea that the separates can easily be mixed and matched together in a very Donna Karan, seven easy pieces kind of way. Elizabeth Wellington, Philly.com, "This sun-protective clothing line by a King of Prussia dermatologist is actually pretty cute | Elizabeth Wellington," 2 July 2018 Under extreme heat, the concrete separates from the steel inside, and the metal weakens. Kevin Davenport, idahostatesman, "How a 20-minute fire in the fatal I-84 crash ruined a concrete overpass," 22 June 2018 Over the last few days, the model has been opting for playful separates that are giving strong ’90s vibes thanks to a few styling tricks. Colleen Kratofil, PEOPLE.com, "Bella Hadid Puts a '90s Spin on Her Hot-Off-the-Runway Dior Outfits," 15 Mar. 2018

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

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1886, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for separate

Verb

Middle English, from Latin separatus, past participle of separare, from se- apart + parare to prepare, procure — more at secede, pare

Adjective

see separate entry 1

Noun

see separate entry 1

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Statistics for separate

Last Updated

13 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for separate

The first known use of separate was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for separate

separate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of separate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to cause (two or more people or things) to stop being together, joined, or connected : to make (people or things) separate

: to be between (two things or people)

: to stop being together, joined, or connected : to become separate

separate

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of separate (Entry 2 of 2)

: not joined, connected, or combined : placed or kept apart

: different from something else : not related

separate

verb
sep·a·rate | \ˈse-pə-ˌrāt \
separated; separating

Kids Definition of separate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to set or keep apart … Jess and Leslie turned and ran … down to the dry creek bed that separated farmland from the woods.— Katherine Paterson, Bridge to Terabithia

2 : to make a distinction between Be sure to separate fact from fiction.

3 : to cease to be together : part There was sadness when the friends separated.

separate

adjective
sep·a·rate | \ˈse-pə-rət, ˈse-prət\

Kids Definition of separate (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : set apart The motel contains fifty separate units.

2 : not shared : individual We were each busy with our separate projects.

3 : existing independently from each other The company broke up into three separate businesses.

separate

verb
sep·a·rate | \ˈsep-(ə-)ˌrāt \
separated; separating

Medical Definition of separate 

transitive verb

1 : to isolate from a mixture : extract

2 : dislocate separated his right shoulder

intransitive verb

: to become isolated from a mixture

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separate

verb
sep·a·rate | \ˈse-pə-ˌrāt \
separated; separating

Legal Definition of separate 

transitive verb

: to cause the separation of

intransitive verb

: to undergo a separation the couple separated last year — compare divorce

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