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 An on-site processing mill would crush and refine the minerals and ores using flotation, separation and cyanide. Laura Schulte, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 1 June 2021 Sammie and Monika have a son, Samson, but his difficult, sometimes violent tendencies play a role in his parents’ eventual separation. Washington Post, 1 June 2021 The Scarlet Knights created separation with their prowess in the throwing events, as junior Jenna Bard spearheaded winning efforts in the javelin and shot put., 30 May 2021 Newsom wrote that the pardon is further justified because Keola faces impending deportation and separation from his family due to his conviction. Dustin Gardiner, San Francisco Chronicle, 28 May 2021 Arizona finally got to Callahan and gained some separation in the sixth. Michael Lev, The Arizona Republic, 8 June 2021 Some remaining church members have chosen to disaffiliate with the denomination under guidelines for separation adopted by the United Methodist General Conference in 2019. al, 8 June 2021 Despite a 46 point effort from Luka Doncic, the Los Angeles Clippers created separation in the second half to take Game 7 of the opening round, 126-111. Dallas News, 6 June 2021 Costco is bringing back tables and chairs in stores that have outdoor seating areas, and indoor seating will be back with more physical separation at most of its 560 US locations as local restrictions allow. Jordan Valinsky, CNN, 5 June 2021

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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Time Traveler for separation

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for separation

Last Updated

10 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Separation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jun. 2021.

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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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