sep·​a·​rat·​ism | \ˈse-p(ə-)rə-ˌti-zəm \

Definition of separatism 

: a belief in, movement for, or state of separation (such as schism, secession, or segregation)

Examples of separatism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Not only is there separatism in Catalonia but two parties, Podemos and Ciudadanos, have emerged to challenge the old duopoly. Tim Lister, CNN, "Europe is on the verge of a big new crisis, just six years after the last one," 2 June 2018 As the civil rights movement lost steam and gave way to the separatism of Black Power, the group spoke from a standpoint of disillusionment, although with vigorous attitude. Giovanni Russonello, New York Times, "Jalal Mansur Nuriddin, ‘Grandfather of Rap,’ Is Dead at 73," 13 June 2018 The movement brings back painful memories for many residents, because separatism has a long and bloody history in Basque Country. Meg Bernhard,, "With independence a far-fetched dream, Basque Country activists downsize their ambitions," 15 June 2018 China’s Communist rulers believe their police state limits separatism and reduces violence. The Economist, "China has turned Xinjiang into a police state like no other," 31 May 2018 So episodes of Shia rebelliousness carry not just the fear of separatism, or of Iranian interference, but of economic disaster, too. To varying degrees, Shias feel discriminated against across the GCC. The Economist, "Muslims but not brothersSaudi Arabia turns against political Islam," 23 June 2018 Those changes help quell most of the support for separatism, though campaigns have periodically bubbled up. Meg Bernhard,, "With independence a far-fetched dream, Basque Country activists downsize their ambitions," 15 June 2018 His 2010 legal challenge to new powers for the Catalan government triggered a resurgence in separatism that would fatally damage his authority seven years later when the region threatened to break away from Spain. Fortune, "Spain's Prime Minister Was Just Ousted, Fueling Even More Uncertainty in Europe," 1 June 2018 Fearing insurrection and separatism, China’s rulers have reinforced techniques of totalitarian control—including the mass detention of Uighurs for re-education—with digital technology. The Economist, "Does China’s digital police state have echoes in the West?," 31 May 2018

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

1628, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

19 Oct 2018

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The first known use of separatism was in 1628

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