sev·​er | \ˈse-vər \
severed; severing\ˈsev-​riŋ, ˈse-​və-​ \

Definition of sever 

transitive verb

: to put or keep apart : divide especially : to remove (something, such as a part) by or as if by cutting

intransitive verb

: to become separated

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Choose the Right Synonym for sever

separate, part, divide, sever, sunder, divorce mean to become or cause to become disunited or disjointed. separate may imply any of several causes such as dispersion, removal of one from others, or presence of an intervening thing. separated her personal life from her career part implies the separating of things or persons in close union or association. vowed never to part divide implies separating into pieces or sections by cutting or breaking. civil war divided the nation sever implies violence especially in the removal of a part or member. a severed limb sunder suggests violent rending or wrenching apart. a city sundered by racial conflict divorce implies separating two things that commonly interact and belong together. cannot divorce scientific research from moral responsibility

Examples of sever in a Sentence

He severed the lowest tree limbs. His finger was severed in the accident. Activists are asking the government to sever all diplomatic relations with the country.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The bullet went through Diane's left rib cage and diaphragm, severed a vein and artery in her spleen, and then hit several organs including her left kidney and stomach. CBS News, "Atlanta attorney fatally shoots wife in SUV: Accident or cold-blooded murder?," 28 Apr. 2018 The Russian Orthodox Church decided Monday to sever ties with the leader of the worldwide Orthodox community after his decision to grant Ukrainian clerics independence from the Moscow Patriarchate. Vladimir Isachenkov, The Seattle Times, "Russian Orthodox Church breaks ties with Orthodoxy’s leader," 15 Oct. 2018 These severed the connection that ties the left side of the brain to the right. Rob Reid, Ars Technica, "Ars on your lunch break: The oddly divisible nature of consciousness," 4 Oct. 2018 Apple did sever its relationship with Supermicro in 2016, but the iPhone-maker claimed this was due to an unrelated and minor security incident. James Vincent, The Verge, "Chinese spies reportedly inserted microchips into servers used by Apple, Amazon, and others," 4 Oct. 2018 The designation, which effectively forces US financial institutions to sever ties with the entity, makes it all but impossible for an entity to participate in the global financial system. Garrett M. Graff, WIRED, "If Trump Is Laundering Russian Money, Here’s How It Works," 11 May 2018 Fred wants to sever all ties with Lodge Industries because of it. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "'Riverdale' Season 2 Episode 16 Recap: Leave Cheryl Alone," 21 Mar. 2018 The court proceeding is the latest step as authorities seek to sever ties between David and Louise Turpin and their 13 children — between 2 and 29 years old — who were rescued from their home in Perris, California, on Jan. 14. Time, "Eldest Turpin Child Was Bullied and Slung Around 'Like a Rag Doll,' Former Classmates Say," 24 Jan. 2018 His decision to continue representing foreign entities also departs from standard practice for presidential attorneys, who in the past have generally sought to sever any ties that could create conflicts with their client in the White House., "Giuliani works for foreign clients while serving as Trump's attorney," 10 July 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for sever

Middle English, from Anglo-French severer, from Latin separare — more at separate

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Statistics for sever

Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sever

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

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More Definitions for sever



English Language Learners Definition of sever

: to cut off (something) : to remove or separate (something) by cutting

: to end (a relationship, connection, etc.) completely


sev·​er | \ˈse-vər \
severed; severing

Kids Definition of sever

: to cut off … the sword … severed the tip of his tail.— Brian Jacques, Redwall

sev·​er | \ˈse-vər \
severed; severing

Legal Definition of sever 

1 : to end (a joint tenancy) by ending one or all of the unities of time, title, possession, or interest (as by conveying one tenant's interest to another party)

2 : to separate (as a contract) into different parts (as independent obligations) in order to treat each separately

3a : to try (criminal offenses or defendants) separately in order to avoid prejudice

b : to split (a criminal trial) into multiple trials in order to avoid prejudice

c : to try (civil claims or issues pleaded in the same case) separately

Other Words from sever

severance \ˈse-​vrəns, -​və-​rens \ noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on sever

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sever

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sever

Spanish Central: Translation of sever

Nglish: Translation of sever for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sever for Arabic Speakers

Comments on sever

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living or existing for a long time

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