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)

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

separateness \ ˈse-​p(ə-​)rət-​nəs How to pronounce separateness (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for separate

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Adjective

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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

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 team has, however, made some moves to separate itself from racist connotations. Li Cohen, CBS News, "FedEx, title sponsor of the Washington Redskins' stadium, asks team to change their name," 2 July 2020 Others can separate in half and convert to two single sleeping bags. The Editors, Field & Stream, "Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Double Sleeping Bag," 1 July 2020 More than four years ago researchers at Stanford University managed to separate a superposition consisting of 10,000 atoms by about half a meter—the current record. Tim Folger, Scientific American, "Tiny Gravitational-Wave Detector Could Search Anywhere in the Sky," 30 June 2020 When your car sits for long periods of time, the oil can settle and the fuel can separate, which can lead to engine problems. USA Today, "Is COVID-19 preventing you from driving your car as much as you'd like?," 29 June 2020 It’s these kinds of initiatives that separate Bickerstaff, who took over just weeks before the NBA spun into chaos. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "J.B. Bickerstaff is bright spot of Cleveland Cavaliers’ rebuild -- and he came at the perfect time: Chris Fedor," 16 June 2020 None of the 350 parents and children detained in Immigration and Customs Enforcement family detention centers agreed to separate from their children. Silvia Foster-frau, ExpressNews.com, "Immigrant mother: ‘They tried to separate my daughter from me’," 4 June 2020 The Gila River Indian Community, Tohono O'odham Nation and Hualapai Tribe also appeared to separate from tribal member residents and others. Chelsea Curtis, azcentral, "Hopi Tribe releases ZIP code data, but COVID-19 data for Arizona's 22 communities is confusing," 4 June 2020 Businesses will continue to be required to separate tables by at least six feet, limit groups to parties of 10 and require servers to wear masks. oregonlive, "Oregon extends restaurant and bar curfew under Phase 2 reopening guidelines," 3 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Crews on Saturday worked to contain a separate fire that sparked Saturday, just north of the Mangum Fire's perimeter slightly north of the Utah border, according to officials. Chelsea Curtis, The Arizona Republic, "Red Flag Warning issued as fires continue to burn across the state," 29 June 2020 Others under the microscope include former Department of Building Inspections Director Tom Hui, who resigned after a separate investigation begun by the city attorney. Phil Matier, SFChronicle.com, "It started with Mohammed Nuru. Who knows where SF City Hall corruption investigation will end?," 28 June 2020 Tyson said an additional 80 Noel employees tested positive for COVID-19 in separate tests that were performed by their health care providers or the state’s Department of Health and Senior Services. Washington Post, "The Latest: South Korea still coping with new virus clusters," 28 June 2020 Search-and-rescue missions are underway for three hikers who have gone missing on Mount Rainier in Washington state last week in separate incidents. Fox News, "Searches underway for 3 Mount Rainier hikers missing in separate incidents," 28 June 2020 The Trump administration has already faced some legal hurdles in separate plans to increase logging in the Tongass. Abby Smith, Washington Examiner, "'There's literally no downside': Reagan-founded PAC pushes Trump to preserve Alaska's Tongass Forest," 28 June 2020 The Denver suburb of Aurora is planning a separate investigation into the actions of first responders in the case. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, "Officers involved in the death of Elijah McClain reassigned for safety reasons," 27 June 2020 Some new houses include a flexible living space with a separate entrance that grants privacy to a member of a multigenerational family or tenant. oregonlive, "On the market: Homes with a second, rental living space for relatives or tenants," 27 June 2020 The government is proceeding with a separate breach-of-contract lawsuit that could force Bolton to surrender all profits from the book, including his $2 million advance. David Yaffe-bellany, Bloomberg.com, "Bolton Book Fight Shows Flaws in U.S. System to Protect Secrets," 27 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Stephanie Goldberger, 29, also managed to leave Peru and return to Portland last week after securing a seat on a charter flight separate from those organized by the State Department. Jamie Goldberg, oregonlive, "Some Oregonians return home, but others remain stuck abroad as borders, airports close due to coronavirus," 30 Mar. 2020 When paired together, black and white separates make for a contemporary-cool spin on formalwear. Megan Ditrolio, Marie Claire, "And the Bride Wore...," 17 Feb. 2020 Having gained experience in the industry, Givenchy struck out on his own in 1952 with a novel collection of haute separates. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "Remembering the Fashion Figures We Lost in 2018," 3 Dec. 2018 While a silk summer dress or breezy separates may seem the obvious summer wardrobe choice, Olsen proves that all-black, anti-summer dressing can make a heatwave even more scorching. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Ashley Olsen Is Breaking All the Summer Style Rules," 30 July 2019 Channeling the breezy vibes of its caftans and lightweight separates, the label’s debut swimwear was created with a holiday spirit in mind. Nandi Howard, Essence, "Dior Taps These Black Artist And More Jan/Feb Style News," 8 Jan. 2020 Perfectly embodying the style of Rachel Green, the collection includes a range of ribbed turtlenecks, a plaid miniskirt, leather separates, classic white shirting, and leather knee-high boots. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "Ralph Lauren Made a Collection Inspired by Rachel Green," 18 Sep. 2019 Its stint in New York owes much to a Cohen fan by the name of Nili Lotan—known to the fashion world for her blazers and military-esque khaki separates, which look anything but utilitarian. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "Designer Nili Lotan Hosts a Preview of the Exhibition “Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything”," 11 Apr. 2019 Called Givenchy Atelier, the men’s and women’s line of separates, bags, and shoes is a mash-up of Givenchy’s couture codes and that of its ready-to-wear. Vogue, "Introducing Givenchy Atelier: A New Capsule Collection of Elevated Essentials Made With a Couture Sensibility," 4 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for separate

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for separate

Last Updated

12 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Separate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/separate. Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for separate

separate

verb
How to pronounce separate (audio)

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
How to pronounce separate (audio)

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.

Choose the Right Synonym for separate

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.

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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