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)

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 The separation between home and baseball worked both ways as Scully kept his personal life out of the broadcast booth. David Wharton, Anchorage Daily News, 3 Aug. 2022 Although the decision was unanimous, some plan commissioners discussed a desire to see a more distinct separation between the apartment and bustling Mayfair Road. Beck Andrew Salgado, Journal Sentinel, 28 July 2022 To his mind, Republicans are trying to take bodily autonomy from women, close the separation between church and state, and let a religious minority control the government. Stephanie Ebbert,, 27 July 2022 Today, with an annual revenue of close to $60 million, the Alliance Defending Freedom is a mainstay of the Christian nationalist movement’s plans for dismantling the wall of separation between church and state. Katherine Stewart, The New Republic, 11 July 2022 The photo was taken in a home studio combining two expositions that talk about the personal separation between fiction and reality. Cecilia Rodriguez, Forbes, 3 July 2022 Williams was stressed by work, his sudden forgetfulness and changing personality, and insufficient sleep -- which progressed to severe insomnia that removed the separation between day and night in the couple's home. Kristen Rogers, CNN, 1 July 2022 Other people think that this is a valid policy to maintain the separation between church and state. Adam Liptak, New York Times, 30 June 2022 But, for now, Pay is listed as a potential starter along with Tukuafu, with no separation between them. Kevin Reynolds, The Salt Lake Tribune, 27 June 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near separation

separatio bonorum


separation anxiety

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Statistics for separation

Last Updated

9 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Separation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for separation


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


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)

More from Merriam-Webster on separation

Nglish: Translation of separation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of separation for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about separation


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