\ ˈsplit \
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 \

Definition of Split (Entry 4 of 4)

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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Tristan Thompson had 15 points and 14 rebounds, and Alec Burks had 17 points and 13 rebounds as the short-handed Cavaliers split the two-game season series by forcing the Lakers into a choppy game. Dan Greenspan, The Seattle Times, "Cavs stun Lakers 101-95 to end 12-game losing streak," 13 Jan. 2019 In 2004, the supermodel became pregnant with her first child with Italian businessman Flavio Briatore, but the couple split shortly before her daughter Helene (who goes by Leni) was born. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Heidi Klum's Net Worth Is Mind-Bogglingly Huge," 7 Jan. 2019 American Airlines, on the other hand, offers nine boarding groups, split into similar divisions as Delta's. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "Delta's New Boarding Process Is Based on Colors," 11 Dec. 2018 The massive master suite occupies the whole east wing and is split into his and her quarters. Sara Rodrigues, House Beautiful, "This NYC Apartment Features Stunning Views Of Central Park For $39.5 Million," 30 Dec. 2018 Out of nowhere, Miley deletes every photo off her Instagram, sparking rumors that the couple has split. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "A Complete Timeline of Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth's Relationship," 27 Dec. 2018 Intel anticipates that different CPU tasks will increasingly be split up into chiplets, then combined in a mix-and-match way for the finished chip. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Intel introduces Foveros: 3D die stacking for more than just memory," 12 Dec. 2018 This is the ultimate version of the road trip (read: packing a lot in over a short period of time), but feel free to split it up over more days, or skip through some stops and spend a little more time at others. Katherine Lagrave, Condé Nast Traveler, "Road Trip: 4 Days on Minnesota's North Shore," 19 July 2018 Arbitrators, for example, can be prone to splitting their decisions over time to curry favor with both sides and enhance their chances of being selected in the future, critics say. Steve Miletich, The Seattle Times, "Defending police reforms, Seattle tells federal judge that reinstatement of officer who punched woman is an ‘outlier’," 19 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth came in like a wrecking ball and smashed those split rumors with our new favorite video. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth Didn't Break Up, Guys," 19 July 2018 That’s the picture that emerged Tuesday night as a raucous campaign season ended and the votes rolled in to produce a split verdict in the race for congressional control. Gerald F. Seib, WSJ, "Trump Did What He Needed to Do in the Midterms," 6 Nov. 2018 Fans remain split on whether the 26-year-old will make a good signing for the Anfield club though, with some believing him to be a downgrade on their primary attacking target Fekir. SI.com, "Rumours of Potential Move for £12m Rated Relegated Star Leave Liverpool Fans With Mixed Emotions," 11 June 2018 Last month, the parks and recreation board recommended against letting dogs in city parks on leashes, also on a split vote. Jane Ford-stewart, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The dog fight continues in Greenfield and this time the dogs win the battle," 19 Apr. 2018 The mock drafts are split 3-3 between Barkley and Josh Rosen with the second pick. Scott Patsko, cleveland.com, "NFL Mock Draft 2018 roundup: Browns targets change after free agency, trades and Jets' move to No. 3.," 21 Mar. 2018 In multiple states, legislatures either flipped from Republican to Democratic-controlled or, in one state, went to Democrats from a split chamber. Emily Stewart, Vox, "State legislatures Democrats have flipped so far in the 2018 elections," 7 Nov. 2018 Some versions of the cake, also known as the Victoria Sandwich, are simpler — just a split cake with a layer of jam, or sometimes just cream and jam, or just fruit and cream. Rebekah Denn, The Seattle Times, "Long live the Victoria Sponge Cake — or, at least through summer’s super-fresh fruit season," 1 Aug. 2018 Land in a split stance with your left foot forward and your right leg back, ensuring that your feet remain shoulder-width apart. Yolanda Edwards, Condé Nast Traveler, "Super Trainer Kayla Itsines on Staying in Shape at 35,000 Feet," 23 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The split was shocking because Will and Kate seemed like such a perfect couple from the get-go, but, apparently, that's exactly why Will was so hesitant to move forward with the relationship. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "This Is Why Prince William Initially Resisted Kate Middleton AND the Idea of Marrying Her," 9 Dec. 2018 Some fee and ethics experts say the split is excessive; others said it is justified by the risk involved. Andrew Scurria, WSJ, "David Boies’s Risky Next Act," 7 Dec. 2018 And while Meghan and Harry will move away from Kensington Palace quite soon, into Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, the royal split is still a topic of discussion. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Plans to Work Until Her Due Date, as Kate Middleton Launches a New Project," 25 Nov. 2018 That’s tightened from previous iterations of the same poll: In August, registered voters preferred Democrats to Republicans 52 percent to 38 percent, and in October, the split was 53 percent to 42 percent. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Polls show Democrats with an advantage in the House. They still might not take Congress.," 4 Nov. 2018 Since then the split has been very public and at times contentious. Tyler Mccarthy, Fox News, "Angelina Jolie claims Brad Pitt is trying to 'distract from the fact' he hasn’t paid child support," 2 Oct. 2018 While her parents, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, are divorced, the split was reportedly amicable. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Get to Know Princess Eugenie's Family Before Her Royal Wedding," 16 Aug. 2018 But the geographic split has been surprisingly sharp for a race in which there are few glaring issue differences between the candidates, neither started out with much of a statewide political profile and the two are both highly supportive of Trump. Craig Gilbert, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "GOP senate primary in Wisconsin already reflects north-south divide within party," 13 July 2018 The split with his son has been hard for him and his son. Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, "Immigrant father hopes for reunification with separated 3-year-old son," 10 July 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.

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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

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Statistics for split

Last Updated

24 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for split

The first known use of split was in 1567

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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 \
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 \
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

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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

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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).


to settle judicially or to act as judge

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