\ ˈsplit How to pronounce split (audio) \
split; splitting

Definition of split

 (Entry 1 of 4)

transitive verb

1a : to divide lengthwise usually along a grain or seam or by layers
b : to affect as if by cleaving or forcing apart the river splits the town in two
2a(1) : to tear or rend apart : burst
(2) : to subject (an atom or atomic nucleus) to artificial disintegration by fission
b : to affect as if by breaking up or tearing apart : shatter a roar that split the air
3 : to divide into parts or portions: such as
a : to divide between persons : share
b : to divide into factions, parties, or groups
c : to mark (a ballot) or cast or register (a vote) so as to vote for candidates of different parties
d(1) : to divide or break down (a chemical compound) into constituents split a fat into glycerol and fatty acids
(2) : to remove by such separation split off carbon dioxide
e : to divide (stock) by issuing a larger number of shares to existing shareholders usually without increase in total par value
4 : to separate (the parts of a whole) by interposing something split an infinitive
5 : leave split the party split town

intransitive verb

1a : to become split lengthwise or into layers
b : to break apart : burst
2a : to become divided up or separated off split into factions split from the group
b : to sever relations or connections : separate
c : leave especially : to leave without delay split for the coast
3 British : to betray confidence : act as an informer usually used with on
4 : to apportion shares
split hairs
: to make oversubtle or trivial distinctions
split one's sides
: to laugh heartily
split the difference
: to arrive at a compromise



Definition of split (Entry 2 of 4)

2 : prepared for use by splitting split bamboo split hides
3 : heterozygous used especially by breeders of cage birds sometimes with for



Definition of split (Entry 3 of 4)

1a : a narrow break made by or as if by splitting
b : an arrangement of bowling pins left standing with space for pins between them
2 : a piece split off or made thin by splitting
3a : a division into or between divergent or antagonistic elements or forces a cultural split
b : a faction formed in this way
4a : the act or process of splitting something (such as the stock of a corporation)
b : the act of lowering oneself to the floor or leaping into the air with legs extended at right angles to the trunk
5 : a product of division by or as if by splitting
6 : a wine bottle holding one quarter the usual amount or about .1875 liters (6 to 6.5 ounces) also : the quantity held by a split
7 : an ice cream sundae served over slices of fruit (such as banana)
8 : the recorded time at or for a specific part of a race


geographical name
\ ˈsplit How to pronounce Split (audio) \

Definition of Split (Entry 4 of 4)

city and port on the Dalmatian coast of the Adriatic Sea in southern Croatia population 166,500

Keep scrolling for more

Choose the Right Synonym for split


tear, rip, rend, split, cleave, rive mean to separate forcibly. tear implies pulling apart by force and leaving jagged edges. tear up the letter rip implies a pulling apart in one rapid uninterrupted motion often along a line or joint. ripped the shirt on a nail rend implies very violent or ruthless severing or sundering. an angry mob rent the prisoner's clothes split implies a cutting or breaking apart in a continuous, straight, and usually lengthwise direction or in the direction of grain or layers. split logs for firewood cleave implies very forceful splitting or cutting with a blow. a bolt of lightning cleaved the giant oak rive occurs most often in figurative use. a political party riven by conflict

Examples of split in a Sentence


The board split in two. The hull of the ship split apart on the rocks. A large chunk of ice split off from the iceberg and crashed into the water. She split the muffin and gave me half. The class split into several small groups. Two of the band members split off to form their own band. The teacher split the class into groups. The river splits the town in two. The party is split over the issue of taxes. The church split into moderate and conservative factions.


opinions are split on the subject


There's a split down the back of your jacket. The new policy has caused a split in the organization. a split between liberals and conservatives a wide split of opinions
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Post draft: Played 13 games for the Malmo Redhawks in the top-tier Swedish Hockey League in 2018-19, otherwise splitting time between Malmo’s junior club (highest-level junior hockey) and IK Pantern (second-highest hockey league). Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Red Wings 2017 NHL draft review: Some quality choices amid quantity," 9 June 2019 The Giants have split the eight games, winning by scores of 4-2, 3-2, 2-1 and 2-1, and two of the losses were 6-5 and 5-3. John Shea, SFChronicle.com, "Giants play well, then collapse, fall to Dodgers," 8 June 2019 The news that Cooper and Shayk have split comes on the heels of Shayk reportedly moving out of the pair's home in the Pacific Palasides neighborhood of Los Angeles earlier this week. Kaitlin Reilly, refinery29.com, "Bradley Cooper & Irina Shayk Have Broken Up," 8 June 2019 The appearance came as People magazine and E! published reports the pair had split, citing unnamed sources. Sara M Moniuszko, USA TODAY, "Irina Shayk sparks Bradley Cooper breakup rumors, steps out without ring," 7 June 2019 Special teams coach Joe Judge splitting his time to help replace O’Shea with the receivers was manageable. Albert Breer, SI.com, "Who’s Calling the Shots? How the Patriots Are Handling Major Coaching Turnover," 6 June 2019 There is land to be cleared, typically with machetes; sprayings of pesticide; and more machete work to gather and split open the cocoa pods. Washington Post, "Cocoa’s child laborers," 5 June 2019 An inside source reveals to Us Weekly that the children will be splitting their time between New Mexico (where Jolie is filming a movie) and Los Angeles (where Pitt is based). Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's Children Are Reportedly Spending Their Summer in New Mexico & L.A.," 5 June 2019 Kristina Bozic splits time between Chicago and Oaxaca, Mexico (where there may or may not be another West Lakeview Liquors; at the very least there’s a bare bones website for such a store). Josh Noel, chicagotribune.com, "Iconic Chicago beer store West Lakeview Liquors closes in a mysterious rush. Will it reopen?," 4 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Prior to the split announcement, rumors of a possible breakup began to circulate after Hale was seen holding hands with actor Ryan Rottman. Maria Pasquini, PEOPLE.com, "Lucy Hale and Former Life Sentence Costar Riley Smith Split," 5 July 2018 But the poll does illustrate how even a small pool of ticket-splitters could produce a split outcome in the state’s big election contests. Craig Gilbert, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A new poll shows how a small group of ticket-splitters could help re-elect both Walker and Baldwin," 25 June 2018 That’s a scenario where a split vote could hurt a rap song’s chances of winning. Kristin M. Hall, The Seattle Times, "More Grammy nominees makes winning a greater challenge," 4 Feb. 2019 Not much was decisively advanced, from the somewhat split election to the always-just-out-of-reach Mueller investigation to our inability to do a thing about climate change. Danny Westneat, The Seattle Times, "A ‘ghost’ Jaguar haunts on — and other stories from a year that drove around in circles," 31 Dec. 2018 This leads to flaky skin, split lips, dry itchy eyes, and in my case, nosebleeds at the worst possible times (including debuting a new white shirt and on the dance floor on a Saturday night). Bella Cacciatore, Glamour, "The $19 Face Cream That Got Me Through Accutane," 14 Nov. 2018 There’s a similar single-band taillight at the rear, sitting beneath a split wing. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Mercedes’ EQ Silver Arrow blends classic design with electric superpowers," 3 Oct. 2018 Start in a split stance position (with one foot about a foot and a half in front of the other) with your front knee bent slightly and your opposite arm bent in front of your chest, like a sprinter. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "A Quick Leg, Cardio, and Agility Workout From Celebrity Trainer Simone De La Rue," 16 July 2018 But as Pelosi stands poised to take over House leadership in January and Republicans maintain a slim majority in the Senate, Tuesday will be an early show of what’s ahead for a split government. Tara Golshan, Vox, "The tumultuous relationship between Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and Donald Trump, explained.," 11 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Wainwright entered Sunday with a dramatic split: Lefties were producing a .976 OPS (on-base plus slugging) compared with .623 for right-handed batters. Teddy Greenstein, chicagotribune.com, "Home sweep home: Cubs make it 3 in a row against the Cardinals as they keep rolling at Wrigley Field," 9 June 2019 Kris wore a long sleeve, high neck teal dress with a daring split, while Kourtney wore a dazzling silver blazer with black trousers. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "All the Celebrity Guests at Diana Ross’s Fabulous Birthday Party," 27 Mar. 2019 At 3 ½ inches long, the tool consists of a wooden skunkbush sumac handle, bound with split yucca leaves. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The United States' Oldest Tattoo Needle Is an Inked-Up Cactus Spine," 28 Feb. 2019 Rachel is faced with this split between her Asian and Asian-American identity. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Crazy Rich Asians: 5 things to know about the effervescent rom-com," 10 Aug. 2018 The victory gave the Mets a split of the two-game interleague set, and the teams finished at 2-2 in the season series. New York Times, "Mets Split With Blue Jays Thanks to a Five-Run Fifth Inning," 4 July 2018 Was Here project in 1983, a concept album spearheaded by former singer-keyboardist Dennis DeYoung that polarized fans and led to a seven-year split of the band. Gary Graff, Billboard, "Styx on Finally Returning to 'Mr. Roboto' After 35 Years: 'We're Embracing the Fan Requests'," 2 July 2018 Neris is a good pitcher with a good split and a good fastball. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "What's with the rough starts? Chase Anderson wishes he knew.," 17 June 2018 The men start very fast, then get progressively slower with each succeeding split. Alex Hutchinson, Outside Online, "The Art of Pacing Is More Complicated Than You Think," 14 June 2018

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


1567, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


1593, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1597, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for split


Dutch splitten, from Middle Dutch; akin to Middle High German splīzen to split and probably to Old High German spaltan to split

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about split

Statistics for split

Last Updated

13 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for split

The first known use of split was in 1567

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for split



English Language Learners Definition of split

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to break apart or into pieces especially along a straight line
: to separate or divide into parts or groups
: to separate or divide into groups that disagree



English Language Learners Definition of split (Entry 2 of 2)

: a narrow break, tear, or crack
: a division or separation in a group that is caused by a disagreement
: a clear separation or difference between two or more things


\ ˈsplit How to pronounce split (audio) \
split; splitting

Kids Definition of split

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : to divide lengthwise or by layers split a log
2 : to separate into parts or groups A highway splits the neighborhood. Let's split up and search different areas.
3 : to burst or break apart or in pieces The melon fell and split open.
4 : to divide into shares or sections We split the profit.



Kids Definition of split (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a product or result of dividing, separating, or breaking apart : crack
2 : the act or process of dividing, separating, or breaking apart : division There's a split in that political party.
3 : an action or position in which a person's legs are extended in a straight line and in opposite directions



Kids Definition of split (Entry 3 of 3)

: divided by or as if by splitting We're split on what to do next.
\ ˈsplit How to pronounce split (audio) \
split; splitting

Medical Definition of split

: to divide or break down (a chemical compound) into constituents split a fat into glycerol and fatty acids also : to remove by such separation

Keep scrolling for more


split; splitting

Legal Definition of split

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to divide into parts or portions: as
a : to divide into factions, parties, or groups
b : to mark (a ballot) or cast or register (a vote) so as to vote for candidates of different parties
c : to divide (stock) by issuing a larger number of shares to existing shareholders usually without increase in total par value — see also stock split
d : to divide (a cause of action) into separate parts or claims in order to institute an action for less than all

Note: Splitting a cause of action is usually prohibited.

intransitive verb

: to become divided or separated the Supreme Court, splitting five to four, sustained the law— R. H. Bork

Other Words from split

split noun



Legal Definition of split (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : divided into portions, parts, or fragments a split trial a split stock
2 : divided by or in opinion a split court a split decision

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on split

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with split

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for split

Spanish Central: Translation of split

Nglish: Translation of split for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of split for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about split

Comments on split

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


a device or gadget

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Dictionary Devil

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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