sever

verb
sev·​er | \ ˈse-vər How to pronounce sever (audio) \
severed; severing\ ˈsev-​riŋ How to pronounce severing (audio) , 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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Protesters entered three Portland businesses Thursday afternoon to demand that the businesses sever their ties with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. oregonlive.com, "Occupy ICE protest targets 2 Portland businesses Thursday," 11 July 2019 Since its inception, Social Security has been funded exclusively from the program’s own payroll taxes, but this proposal would sever that link. Rachel Greszler, National Review, "Taxing Inheritances Won’t Fix Social Security," 9 July 2019 Down once and for all, severing the Mind Flayer from our world and killing its monstrous weapon in the process. Ariana Romero, refinery29.com, "Here's Who Definitely Died In The Stranger Things 3 Finale," 5 July 2019 Diamond was pronounced dead the following day from a single shotgun slug that entered at the back of his neck, severed his spinal cord and shattered his jaw. Jeanette Marantos, latimes.com, "Judge orders mistrial after jury deadlocks on whether Mongols member killed Pomona SWAT officer in 2014," 29 June 2019 The resignation of former Mattress Firm Chairman and Chief Executive Steve Stagner, who was at the helm when the retailer and Tempur Sealy severed ties, also helped clear the path toward reconciliation, analysts said. Paul Takahashi, Houston Chronicle, "Mattress Firm makes up with Tempur Sealy, to carry Tempur-Pedic beds," 19 June 2019 During this process, a length of core—a cylinder of ice anywhere from 3 to 10 feet—must safely be carved out of the ice sheet, gripped, severed, and pulled to the surface by a winch. Jon Gertner, WIRED, "The Top Secret Cold War Project That Pulled Climate Science From the Ice," 12 June 2019 In the earliest hours of August 17, the Roosevelt swung out from the harbor of Etah and severed all communication with the civilized world. Robert E. (robert Edwin) Peary, Harper's magazine, "Unyielding Ice," 10 June 2019 The first response, for an American accustomed to more puritanical forms of worship, is bemusement at the Pop Art look of all the neatly severed and articulated stamped metal votives. Adam Gopnik, Town & Country, "My First Visit to the Greek Islands Turned Out to Be a Journey Home," 20 May 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sever

Statistics for sever

Last Updated

19 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sever

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for sever

sever

verb

English Language Learners Definition of sever

: to cut off (something) : to remove or separate (something) by cutting
: to end (a relationship, connection, etc.) completely

sever

verb
sev·​er | \ ˈse-vər How to pronounce sever (audio) \
severed; severing

Kids Definition of sever

: to cut off … the sword … severed the tip of his tail.— Brian Jacques, Redwall
sev·​er | \ ˈse-vər How to pronounce sever (audio) \
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 How to pronounce severance (audio) \ noun

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up sever? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

something desired as essential

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!