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

separateness \ ˈse-​p(ə-​)rət-​nəs How to pronounce separate (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 Humans started using tools to separate themselves from animals and, probably around then, gained a consciousness of time and were able to imagine the future. Cody Delistraty, WSJ, "Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Radical Traditionalism," 28 Apr. 2021 Amanda Caton stepped in front of her husband to separate him from one of the officers, the report states. Quinlan Bentley, The Enquirer, "Clermont County jury acquits Cincinnati police captain of OVI charge," 24 Apr. 2021 Changing tempo and direction at his own level, Waddle projects to separate himself throughout the formation at the NFL level. Oliver Thomas, Forbes, "New England Patriots NFL Draft Preview: March Moves Give Bill Belichick April Options," 21 Apr. 2021 It’s that those three teams have been unable to separate themselves from each other. Tim Cowlishaw, Dallas News, "While Stars’ stretch vs. Red Wings is an opportunity to pile up points, their shootout win shows it’s going to be a grind," 19 Apr. 2021 His ability to see things on the court, make the right decisions, and knock down big shots separate him from most. Richard Obert, The Arizona Republic, "All eyes on AZ Compass' TyTy Washington, Hillcrest's Michael Foster as signing period begins," 14 Apr. 2021 Natural bay lands are also places where urban residents can easily get in touch with nature, unlike massive sea walls that separate them from the bay, report author Grenier said. Tara Duggan, San Francisco Chronicle, "The simple local solution to sea level rise? Mud from the bottom of San Francisco Bay," 13 Apr. 2021 The agreement reached with the Taliban called for the group to reduce violence and separate itself from terror groups, but U.S. and NATO military leaders have said the violence is still too high to justify a full withdrawal. David Martin, CBS News, "Biden to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by 9/11," 13 Apr. 2021 Police in downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico, formed a circle around a lone protester to separate him from a large crowd of counterprotesters. NBC News, "'White Lives Matter' rallies flop as hardly anyone shows up," 12 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The clinic, which serves Wicomico, Somerset and Dorchester counties, has offered vaccines to its 155 staff members on three separate occasions; 40 percent have declined. Washington Post, "Rural Maryland and Virginia counties were once ahead in vaccinations. Not anymore.," 30 Apr. 2021 In January on his final full day in office, former President Trump granted commutation to Kodak Black, who was in prison at the time for falsifying information on federal forms to buy firearms in Miami on two separate occasions. Althea Legaspi, Rolling Stone, "Kodak Black Pleads Guilty to First-Degree Assault and Battery in Sexual Misconduct Case," 29 Apr. 2021 Taylor's death is under a separate federal investigation by the FBI. Darcy Costello, The Courier-Journal, "What we know about the US Justice Department investigation into Louisville Metro Police," 27 Apr. 2021 The handgun believed used in the shooting was recovered, as well as other weapons that are part of a separate investigation, Deenihan said. NBC News, "Man charged in Chicago road-rage shooting that wounded child," 23 Apr. 2021 The Department of Building Inspection’s separate building permit investigation was opened on April 5 and the department unsuccessfully attempted to inspect the building by ringing the doorbell on April 12, city records show. Roland Li, San Francisco Chronicle, "Alison Collins and her husband illegally merged two S.F. apartments, city says," 22 Apr. 2021 This week the attorney general also received a referral from the state comptroller's office for a separate investigation into the nursing home deaths but the attorney general's office declined to comment on the matter, Fox News previously reported. Dom Calicchio, Fox News, "Cuomo impeachment investigators contact 70 witnesses, receive 200-plus tips: reports," 22 Apr. 2021 The Justice Department is conducting a separate criminal investigation into whether police violated Floyd’s civil rights. Del Quentin Wilber Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Justice Dept. to investigate Minneapolis police after Chauvin verdict," 21 Apr. 2021 The official added that prosecutors opened a separate investigation into what led the ship to get stuck. Jeremy Beaman, Washington Examiner, "Ship that blocked Suez Canal seized by Egyptian authorities," 14 Apr. 2021 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

2 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Separate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/separate. Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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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.

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

Comments on separate

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