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

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 Over the decades, Beijing has used both carrots and sticks, building up economic ties across the straits that separate Taiwan from China, and firing missiles into and sailing aircraft carriers through them. James Griffiths, CNN, "Taiwan has slipped through China's fingers, but will Beijing ever admit it?," 13 Jan. 2020 BioLite 330 This headlamp has a unique design that separates the battery pack (which sits at the back of the head) from the front-facing light. Popular Science, "Three headlamps that’ll won’t leave you in the dark," 10 Jan. 2020 To that end, Gibson and a KDF volunteer spent a weekend at the Kentucky Derby Festival office actually tearing down walls that separate the offices on the upper floor in order to create a more open and collaborative environment. The Courier-Journal, "Who are the most influential people in Kentucky? Here are 20 to watch in 2020," 9 Jan. 2020 The Pro-Fit grip is slender and easy to grasp, and the Silent Riser Shelf--which prevents the arrow shaft from contacting the riser and was made for use with drop-away rests--is one of those nice touches that separate the great from the good. Field & Stream, "The Best Hunting and Fishing Gear of the Decade," 27 Dec. 2019 These replace the liquid that separates the electrodes inside the battery with a solid material, increasing the amount of energy that can be stored. Davide Castelvecchi, Scientific American, "Watch Out for These Science Events in 2020," 30 Dec. 2019 Other major structural damage to the school includes a section of roof that separated from the wall; a stairwell that shifted and slumped several degrees; and cracked concrete masonry where steel beams were embedded in concrete. Matt Tunseth, Anchorage Daily News, "Gruening Middle School walk-through offers insight into post-quake rebuilding plan," 25 Dec. 2019 But four years ago, the company invested in a $600,000 machine from the Netherlands that can separate boxes from other recyclables. Mallory Moench, SFChronicle.com, "Drowning in holiday trash? Here’s what to do with it in San Francisco," 24 Dec. 2019 The hope is that, among other things, having a longer time window will increase the odds of finding an extremely rare event, one that might not occur in the handful of years that separate the digital surveys. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Finding stars that vanished—by scouring old photos," 24 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The services’ problems with readiness burst into public view in the summer of 2017, when two American destroyers collided with two commercial ships in separate incidents that left 17 sailors dead and scores injured. T. Christian Miller, ProPublica, "Trump Says U.S. Is Ready for War. Not All His Troops Are So Sure.," 17 Jan. 2020 The indictment lists three separate incidents over more than a year. oregonlive, "Newberg personal-injury lawyer charged with strangulation, assault in domestic-violence case," 17 Jan. 2020 In a separate incident, a lockdown ended at Tennessee's McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base on Wednesday afternoon after a report of a suspicious person who appeared to be armed turned out to be a misunderstanding, officials said. Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY, "Three arrested at Pearl Harbor's main gate after live mortar round spotted in vehicle," 16 Jan. 2020 Later John Boyd and both of his sons died there, and then — even after the Boyds donated the estate to the city in 1905 — two children of San Rafael Park Superintendent Alfred Knowles died at the home in separate 1930 incidents. Beth Spotswood, SFChronicle.com, "If you’re looking for ghosts, you might find them," 15 Jan. 2020 In a pair of separate incidents earlier in the same week, two Canadians and two Australians were detained for stripping down for pictures there. Rob Picheta, CNN, "Six tourists arrested after feces found at sacred Machu Picchu temple," 14 Jan. 2020 King Land and Water is marketing the ranch for sale in one piece or in separate parcels. Steve Brown, Dallas News, "Massive Far West Texas ranch on the market is priced at $320 million," 10 Jan. 2020 The letter doesn’t specify what customer data the employees involved in four separate incidents sought, how many employees were involved, or how many of them successfully gained access to it. Ben Brody, Fortune, "Amazon’s Ring Fired at Least Four Staffers Who Tried to Access Customer Data," 8 Jan. 2020 The separate incidents allegedly took place over a two-day period in 2013. CBS News, "How new Harvey Weinstein charges could have "powerful" impact on his New York trial," 7 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 Pioneer Road is a four-lane, east-west road the separates Cedarburg from Mequon to the south. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "No criminal charges, but citations are issued in Cedarburg cyclist fatality from May," 27 Nov. 2019 It’s beautiful as well as versatile and pairs with a variety of separates, including blue jeans. Dominique Hobdy, Essence, "Shop Black: This Designer Is On A Mission To Perfect The Classic White Shirt," 27 Sep. 2019 The draft will then be held in five separates phases, with phases 1-4 going for 10 rounds each and phase 5 continuing until each team fills out its 71-man roster. Usa Today Sports, USA TODAY, "XFL draft: Players, picks, order, format, latest updates on teams," 15 Oct. 2016 Expect suiting—both traditional black and more fashion-forward satiny turquoise—polished separates, and sophisticated pieces to go from office to everywhere else. Ana Colón, Glamour, "Henning Is Your New Go-To for Plus-Size Work Clothes," 3 Sep. 2019 At the time, Miley wore playful, pastel tweed separates by the French fashion house and Liam went monochrome in deep green with a velvet blazer. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth Are the Hottest Couple at the Oscars After Party," 25 Feb. 2019 And while there were plenty of gowns on display, many of the best looks for fall 2020 weren't even dresses, as more brands are playing with separates and jumpsuits than ever before (to the relief of brides who'd prefer a little extra movement). Glamour, "The Best Wedding Looks From Bridal Fashion Week Fall 2020," 7 Oct. 2019 Another familiar face involved in the Smart Set is British-Iraqi designer and close friend of the duchess, Misha Nonoo, whose trademark is pared-back, minimal separates. Omid Scobie, Harper's BAZAAR, "How Duchess Meghan Brought the Smart Works Fashion Collection to Life," 12 Sep. 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

20 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Separate.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/separates. Accessed 23 January 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.

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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