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

Camilla Barnes, the mother of a 7-year-old son, says that a teacher was responsible for severing part of her son's finger by slamming a door on it, the Detroit Free Press reported. Scott Berson, miamiherald, "'Oh, my God, his finger is gone:' Mom sues after teacher slams a door on son's finger, lawsuit says," 5 July 2018 Stuart Weitzman has a track record of severing ties over misconduct. Sarah Spellings, The Cut, "Stuart Weitzman Creative Director Resigned Over Inappropriate Behavior," 22 May 2018 Released in 1986, the LP showed Janet confidently embracing her artistic freedom after severing management ties with her father Joseph. Bianca Gracie, Billboard, "What She's Done for Us: The Essential Guide to Janet Jackson's Career," 17 May 2018 Kanye has had a rocky relationship with Nike, ever since severing ties with the company and jumping ship to rival Adidas back in 2013. Mekita Rivas, Teen Vogue, "Former Nike Designer Accuses Kanye West of Copying His Design For Yeezy," 4 May 2018 After severing Connecticut from its unbeaten season Friday night in the national semifinals with a three-point shot at the buzzer in overtime, the 5-foot-8 junior guard got the job done again at the finish, only this time in regulation. Mel Greenberg,, "Arike Ogunbowale buzzer-beater gives Notre Dame NCAA women's basketball championship," 1 Apr. 2018 The pole severed Callahan’s spine, rendering him a C5-6 quadriplegic., "How John Callahan Used His Disability To Fuel Fearlessly Funny Cartoons," 13 July 2018 Smith severed as the Grand Marshal of the Kentucky Derby Festival's 2016 Republic Bank Pegasus Parade. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky native, 'The Voice' winner Jordan Smith releases new single," 29 June 2018 Because this is an unofficial project — and sever costs (and development work) isn’t cheap — some previously free services, like Weather and Dictation, will require some sort of fee after the update. Shoshana Wodinsky, The Verge, "Pebble smartwatches could be kept alive by an unofficial developer group called Rebble," 15 June 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

13 Sep 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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Comments on sever

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to make amends

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