separate

verb
sep·​a·​rate | \ ˈse-pə-ˌrāt How to pronounce separate (audio) , 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 How to pronounce separate (audio) \

Definition of separate (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : set or kept apart : detached
b archaic : solitary, secluded
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 How to pronounce separate (audio) \

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 How to pronounce separately (audio) , ˈse-​pərt-​lē \ adverb
separateness \ ˈse-​p(ə-​)rət-​nəs How to pronounce separateness (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for separate

Synonyms: Verb

break up, decouple, disassociate, disconnect, disjoin, disjoint, dissever, dissociate, disunite, divide, divorce, part, ramify, resolve, sever, split, sunder, uncouple, unlink, unyoke

Synonyms: Adjective

different, individual, respective

Antonyms: Verb

join, link, unify, unite

Antonyms: Adjective

same

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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

The results are photographed here: a summertime edit of dresses and separates made with traditional ikat silk and pieced-together vintage saris. Vogue, "Why Zazi Vintage’s Jeanne de Kroon Made Her Stunning (Sustainable!) Collection in Afghanistan," 9 May 2019 The result is more sparse and separated than the lush lashes often seen Stateside, but the Korean trend still gives eyes a widening effect. Devon Abelman, Allure, "These Are the Biggest Makeup Trends in South Korea in 2019," 8 May 2019 The experienced hikers had originally been out with a group before getting separated and lost. Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, "This Is Why You Should Always Pack a LifeStraw," 14 Apr. 2019 China doesn’t recognize the Tibetan government-in-exile and accuses the Dalai Lama of seeking to separate Tibet from China. Rishi Lekhi, The Seattle Times, "Dalai Lama released from hospital, says he feels ‘normal’," 12 Apr. 2019 Note that Second Measure’s estimates of Uber’s ride-sharing sales included revenue from Uber Eats until May 2017, when the measurement company was able to separate the two. Rani Molla, Recode, "Lyft has eaten into Uber’s U.S. market share, new data suggests," 12 Dec. 2018 Most support the push to abolish ICE, which enforces immigration laws and led the Trump administration's recent push to separate immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border. Samuel Chamberlain, Fox News, "James Comey warns Democrats against socialism: 'Please, please don't lose your minds'," 2 Oct. 2018 Kristen Bell is hitting back against President Donald Trump‘s immigration policy that has separated thousands of children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexican border. Alexia Fernandez, PEOPLE.com, "Kristen Bell Slams Donald Trump's Immigration Policy: 'Do Not Underestimate the Love of Family'," 13 July 2018 At Microsoft, more than 300 workers complained about contracts with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the agency that had been separating families on the US-Mexico border and rounding up longtime residents for deportation. Joseph Menn, The Christian Science Monitor, "Silicon Valley employees increasingly push companies on ethics," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

With north and south facing windows, the apartment is flooded with light and includes four and a half bathrooms and three large bedrooms, which are separate from the entertaining spaces. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "Inside Lee Radziwill's Energetic Upper East Side Apartment," 8 May 2019 The new social media profile arrives as the royal couple establish their royal household that is separate from Harry's brother and sister-in-law, Prince Willam and Kate Middleton. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Just Shattered an Instagram Guinness World Record," 3 Apr. 2019 Protesters threw objects and burned wood in the street during run-ins with police in riot gear, who deployed to keep them separate from the campaign event. Joseph Wilson, The Seattle Times, "Spain’s new far-right campaigns to stop Catalan separatists," 30 Mar. 2019 The charge for the final month is separate from AT&T's Early Termination Fee, which applies when customers cancel before the end of a contract. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "AT&T makes it more expensive to cancel DirecTV or Internet service," 3 Dec. 2018 Provisional ballots are generally kept separate from other ballots until after the election and a determination is made as to whether a voter as eligible. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Early numbers suggest voter turnout soared in the 2018 midterms," 7 Nov. 2018 On Wednesday, the company formally launched that product, and announced a larger, 85-inch model due later this year, as well as a separate Surface Hub 2 Display monitor. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Microsoft launches its Surface Hub 2S collaborative PC for $9,000," 17 Apr. 2019 The study authors were conducting separate research when a female executive in the oil and gas industry made a poignant admission. Jenna Birch, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Secret Code to Success Most Women Don't Even Know Exists," 3 Apr. 2019 Kvitova didn’t enter the trial courtroom in a regional court in the city of Brno, but testified by live video feed from a separate room to avoid facing the suspect. Karel Janicek, The Seattle Times, "Kvitova testifies at trial of suspect in knife attack," 5 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

While snakeskin separates are sure to add a modern touch to any ensemble, Kardashian West’s all-over take is the season’s mic-drop and look to beat. Vogue, "Is Snake Print the New Neutral? Kim Kardashian West Makes the Case," 25 Mar. 2019 Débora Rosa nails the idea, mixing her snake skirt with black separates. Kerry Pieri, Harper's BAZAAR, "Shop the Snakeskin Print Trend We're Going All In On," 11 Jan. 2019 The separates were beautifully embellished to match her Anmol jewelry. Halie Lesavage, Glamour, "Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas Attended Their Friend's Wedding—and Of Course They Looked Spectacular," 12 Dec. 2018 The 23-piece collection is made up of comfortable, wearable separates in neutral shades that will be available from $38 to $248. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "Amy Schumer Takes Her Fashion Cred to the Next Level With the New Clothing Line Le Cloud," 27 Nov. 2018 For her first appearance at the WellChild Awards with Prince Harry today, the Duchess of Sussex suited up in chic, all-black separates by Altuzarra. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Wears a Chic Altuzarra Suit to the WellChild Awards with Prince Harry," 4 Sep. 2018 Students filled the Cramton Auditorium dressed in their Thursday best: plaid separates and towering Off-White boots, gold lamé dresses layered under faux fur jackets, kaleidoscopic minis paired with shiny puffer jackets. Ashley Walker, Teen Vogue, "Howard Homecoming's Fashion Show Was a Celebration of Black Culture and Style," 27 Oct. 2018 Fortunately, a great coat can solve that problem, quickly transforming mundane separates to bring you out of any seasonal slump. Anny Choi, Vogue, "Shop Fall’s Best Coats at Every Price Point," 25 Sep. 2018 Paltrow stuck to her elevated preppy-chic style with matching floral separates. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Gwyneth Paltrow and Blythe Danner Prove You're Never Too Old for a Mommy-and-Me Moment," 21 July 2017

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, Adjective, and Noun

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

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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 How to pronounce separate (audio) \
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 How to pronounce separate (audio) , 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 How to pronounce separate (audio) \
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 How to pronounce separate (audio) \
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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More from Merriam-Webster on separate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with separate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for separate

Spanish Central: Translation of separate

Nglish: Translation of separate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of separate for Arabic Speakers

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