sep·​a·​ra·​tion | \ ˌse-pə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce separation (audio) \

Definition of separation

1 : the act or process of separating : the state of being separated
2a : a point, line, or means of division
b : an intervening space : gap the separation between wheel spokes
3a : cessation of cohabitation between a married couple by mutual agreement or judicial decree
b : termination of a contractual relationship (such as employment or military service)

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Examples of separation in a Sentence

After a separation of 30 years, she visited her family in Cuba. Moving away meant separation from his family.

Recent Examples on the Web

Then, midway into the third quarter, the Nitros started to create separation with a scoring run that gave them a four-point lead. Vincent Nguyen,, "St. Francis basketball uses second-half scoring spree to down Glendale in summer shootout," 7 June 2019 Trends in party support now look more like the wobbly lines of a seismometer than the decades-old separation between the two biggest parties and the rest. The Economist, "Britain’s major parties are weaker than ever before," 7 June 2019 Pettlon noted the recording was made when the couple was considering a separation. CBS News, "Child abuse case against Kansas City Chiefs star Tyreek Hill no longer active," 7 June 2019 Tree swallows like more separation; 20 to 30 feet between single houses seems about right. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, "Instead of zapping Alaska’s mosquitoes, build a birdhouse," 6 June 2019 After the divorce, Garcia says that during the separation Posso picked up the kids and never returned them. Hollie Silverman, CNN, "A 12-year-old boy who was starved, chained and kept in a dog collar died. His mother never knew he left the state," 4 June 2019 Fearing that things would only get worse, Henry reluctantly accepted a blue discharge, an administrative separation that avoided a court martial but also the right to an attorney or to hear evidence against him. Melanie Burney,, "World War II veteran calls it 'a miracle’: Honorable discharge from Army to correct an ‘injustice,’ nearly 75 years later," 4 June 2019 The separation will also see the city take over operations of the downtown parking district and the downtown shuttle service, Free Ride San Diego, known as FRED. San Diego Union-Tribune, "It’s official, San Diego’s downtown planning agency is finished," 4 June 2019 Among them: improved core strength, improved hip-hinging abilities, increased hamstring flexibility, improved shoulder stability, decreased back discomfort, developed glutes, and improved separation between the upper and lower body. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "Why You Should Try the Kettlebell Windmill Exercise, According to Blake Lively’s Trainer," 9 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'separation.' 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 separation

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for separation

Last Updated

12 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for separation

The first known use of separation was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for separation



English Language Learners Definition of separation

: the act of separating people or things or the state of being separated
: a situation in which a husband and wife live apart from each other


sep·​a·​ra·​tion | \ ˌse-pə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce separation (audio) \

Kids Definition of separation

1 : the act of setting or pulling apart : the state of being set or pulled apart
2 : a point or line at which something is divided
3 : a space between The buildings have a narrow separation.


sep·​a·​ra·​tion | \ ˌsep-ə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce separation (audio) \

Medical Definition of separation

1 : the process of isolating or extracting from or of becoming isolated from a mixture also : the resulting state

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sep·​a·​ra·​tion | \ ˌse-pə-ˈrā-shən How to pronounce separation (audio) \

Legal Definition of separation

1 : cessation of cohabitation between a married couple by mutual agreement with intent that it be permanent also : legal separation — compare divorce

Note: In some cases in which the estrangement is extreme, a separation is considered to have occurred even when the couple retain the same residence if they have stopped communicating and engaging in sexual relations and intend to be separated.

2 : termination of a contractual relationship (as employment or military service)

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Comments on separation

What made you want to look up separation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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