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separate

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verb sep·a·rate \ ˈse-pə-ˌrāt , ˈse-ˌprāt \
Updated on: 11 Sep 2017

Definition of separate

separated; separating
transitive verb
1 a :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
5 a :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
2 a :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

Examples of separate in a Sentence

  1. 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. SaveurJune/July 2008
  2. 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 ChangNew York Times6 Nov. 2007
  3. 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 MadrickNew York Times Book Review29 Jan. 2006
  4. 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.People31 July 2006
  5. They described the process used to separate cream from milk.

  6. A great distance separated the sisters from each other.

  7. They walked together to the corner, but then they separated and went their separate ways.

  8. The main group separated into several smaller groups.

  9. Oil and water separate when combined together.

  10. The oil separated from the water.

  11. The salt crystals separated out of the liquid.

Recent Examples of separate from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of separate

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

Synonym Discussion of separate

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

2

separate

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adjective sep·a·rate \ ˈse-p(ə-)rət \

Definition of separate

1 a :set or kept apart :detached
b archaic :solitary, secluded
2 a :not shared with another :individual
  • separate rooms
b often capitalized :estranged from a parent body
  • separate churches
3 a :existing by itself :autonomous
  • a separate country
b :dissimilar in nature or identity
  • consulted five separate authorities

separately

play \ˈse-p(ə-)rət-lē, ˈse-pərt-lē\ adverb

separateness

play \ˈse-p(ə-)rət-nəs\ noun

Examples of separate in a Sentence

  1. 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 CorbettNew York Times Sports MagazineJune 2006
  2. 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 BremzenSaveurNovember 2006
  3. 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 MasonWorking Against Odds2004
  4. There are separate restrooms for men and women.

  5. The boys have separate rooms.

  6. They slept in separate beds.

  7. We use the same Internet service provider but have separate accounts.

  8. That's an entirely separate issue.

Recent Examples of separate from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of separate

Synonym Discussion of separate

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

3

separate

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noun sep·a·rate \ ˈse-p(ə-)rət \

Definition of separate

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

Examples of separate in a Sentence

  1. "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 HermanVogueJune 2006

Recent Examples of separate from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of separate



SEPARATE Defined for English Language Learners

separate

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verb

Definition of separate for English Language Learners

  • : 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

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adjective

Definition of separate for English Language Learners

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

  • : different from something else : not related


SEPARATE Defined for Kids

1

separate

play
verb sep·a·rate \ ˈse-pə-ˌrāt \

Definition of separate for Students

separated; separating
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.

Synonym Discussion of separate

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.

2

separate

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

Definition of separate for Students

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.

Medical Dictionary

separate

play
verb sep·a·rate \ ˈsep-(ə-)ˌrāt \

medical Definition of separate

separated; separating
transitive verb
1 :to isolate from a mixture :extract
2 :dislocate
  • separated his right shoulder
intransitive verb
:to become isolated from a mixture

Law Dictionary

separate

play
verb sep·a·rate \ ˈse-pə-ˌrāt \

legal Definition of separate

separated; separating
transitive verb
:to cause the separation of
intransitive verb
:to undergo a separation
  • the couple separated last year
— compare divorce


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