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

However, things took a turn for the worse when Hemsworth's family saw the paparazzi photos of Cyrus kissing Kaitlynn Carter, mere days after the couple publicly announced their separation. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, "Liam Hemsworth Reportedly Hoped to Reconcile With Miley Cyrus–Until His Family Saw Her Kissing Kaitlynn Carter," 29 Aug. 2019 Elliott lit up social media with a medley of two decades worth of hits, while Cyrus performed a breakup anthem fresh off her separation from Liam Hemsworth. Aj Willingham, CNN, "5 things to know for August 27: Opioids, G7, China spy claim, Indonesia, VMAs," 27 Aug. 2019 Earlier this week, Liam Hemsworth reportedly filed for divorce from Miley Cyrus, days after the pair announced their separation. Kaitlin Reilly,, "Why Miley Cyrus & Liam Hemsworth's Post-Divorce Pet Situation Is Complicated," 24 Aug. 2019 The pop star announced her separation from husband Liam Hemsworth on August 10. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Miley Cyrus Is Glowing in a New Makeup-Free Selfie," 13 Aug. 2019 News of their separation comes just days after fans first suspected something might be wrong when Cyrus posted a photo without her wedding ring. Natasha Reda, Glamour, "Why Did Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth Split?," 11 Aug. 2019 Despite getting married in lavish style in 1986, the pair announced their separation six years later, around the same time that Fergie's infamous toe-sucking scandal began to circulate in the news. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Will Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson Remarry? The Duke and Duchess Dish on Their Relationship Today," 22 July 2019 Some of the children, who range from toddlers to teens, have been torn from their mothers and fathers at the border in spite of the government’s pledge to end separations, said officials from the nonprofit, Heartland Human Care Services. Melissa Sanchez, ProPublica, "Immigrant Children Sent to Chicago Shelters Are Traumatized and Sick, in Some Instances With Chicken Pox or Tuberculosis," 11 July 2019 Singapore was part of Malaysia until 1965, when economic and racial tensions spurred its separation. Jared Diamond, National Geographic, "How the pros and cons of city living vary around the world," 22 June 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

18 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for separation

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

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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).


to spread over or through

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