\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

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

Democrats also took over the Connecticut Senate, which had previously been evenly split between the parties. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Democratic wins in these 9 states will have seismic policy consequences," 9 Nov. 2018 Nicole Kidman seldom speaks about her two grown children with Tom Cruise—Isabella, 25, and Connor, 23, both of whom decided to live with their father and, like Cruise, practice Scientology, after the couple split in 2001. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "Nicole Kidman Makes Rare, Heartbreaking Comments About Scientology and Her Children With Tom Cruise," 8 Nov. 2018 Since splitting back in October, Ariana and Pete have both been spotted with tattoo coverups. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Pete Davidson Covered Another Tattoo That He Shared With Ariana Grande," 6 Nov. 2018 The Seahawks lined up in one of their most basic alignments – a three-receiver, one back, one tight-end set, typically called 11 personnel, with Tyler Lockett and Doug Baldwin to the right and David Moore split left. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "Seahawks Play of the Week: Lions game was won on the strength of one-on-one battles like this one," 30 Oct. 2018 As Android splits following the EU ruling, the contract also raises questions about how non-Google phones will receive security updates without the same contractual pressures. Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge, "Google mandates two years of security updates for popular phones in new Android contract," 24 Oct. 2018 Tyndall is home to the 325th Fighter Wing which operates 55 F-22s split between the 43rd and 95th Fighter Squadrons. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "More Than a Dozen F-22s May Have Been Damaged or Destroyed by Hurricane Michael," 15 Oct. 2018 That caravan dwindled as the group approached the U.S. border, with some giving up along the way and others splitting off to try to cross on their own. Fox News, "Honduran migrant caravan crosses Guatemala border, US-bound," 15 Oct. 2018 As the company splits its energy between Homes and Experiences, with concerts and social dining to come, the coverage is very broad. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "Innovators: Joe Zadeh, Airbnb's Ninth Employee and VP of Experiences, Wants to Be Your Travel Agent," 26 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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 The couple doesn't explicitly address the split gossip in the clip. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth Shut Down Breakup Rumors with an Adorable Instagram Video," 19 July 2018 The Tigers went on to lose, 13-10, in 13 innings on March 30, and a game scheduled for March 31 was postponed due to rain and was made up as part of a split doubleheader on April 1. George Sipple, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers to play straight doubleheader Saturday vs. Mariners," 11 May 2018 After the drive, players are faced with a split fairway guarded by some large bunkers down the right side and in front of the green. Brent Kennedy, Howard County Times, "Worthington Manor Golf Club," 29 June 2018 As for which party was put at a disadvantage by split primaries, Mr. Goldfeder said the jury was out. Lisa W. Foderaro, New York Times, "Only in New York: Where Primary Day Comes Twice a Year," 25 June 2018 NoCABreakup, which is led by former Democratic Assembly Speaker Fabien Núñez, is gearing up to battle the split-state plan. John Wildermuth, San Francisco Chronicle, "Measure to split California into three states qualifies for November ballot," 12 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

And a sneak peek for Season 13 of Long Island Medium, which premieres October 8, shows that the aftermath of the split will play out in front of the cameras for fans of the reality show to see. Eileen Reslen, Good Housekeeping, "'Long Island Medium' Theresa Caputo Admits to Larry Their Marriage 'Wasn't Working' in New Video," 1 Oct. 2018 At the end, the player with the most points will win (or split) the jackpot. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "HQ Trivia looks to expand with HQ Words, a new Wheel of Fortune-style game," 18 Sep. 2018 Kourtney, on the other hand, has not yet publicly addressed reports of the split. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kourtney Kardashian and Younes Bendjima Reportedly Split and He's Shutting Down Cheating Rumors," 7 Aug. 2018 Rumors of a split began circling in October 2017 when McGregor was spotted kissing Fargo co-star Mary Elizabeth Winstead, 33. Megan Stein, Country Living, "All the Details of Ewan McGregor's Complicated Relationships," 2 Aug. 2018 Case in point: Following her split from husband Justin Theroux earlier this year, all eyes—and headlines—have framed Aniston as crippled and heartbroken, rather than a human, adult woman with thoughts and feelings of her own. Ruby Buddemeyer, Marie Claire, "Jennifer Aniston: "Maybe My Purpose on This Planet Isn’t to Procreate"," 1 Aug. 2018 At the heart of the split will be differing calculations: one under the state’s A-F accountability system versus another approved via Indiana’s plan under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act — the law that replaced No Child Left Behind. Meredith Colias-pete, Post-Tribune, "2 different school accountability systems could mean uncertainty for parents, Northwest Indiana educators fear," 15 June 2018 Axl, puzzled by Brick’s lack of emotion about his departure, joins him and learns his brother thinks of the split as a life-changing loss. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, "'The Middle' finale recap: Tears, laughs, and one last road trip," 22 May 2018 The political ramifications of the split between swing districts and the rest of America isn't hard to decipher. Amber Phillips, Washington Post, "Who will decide which party controls the House? Whiter, wealthier Americans.," 17 May 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

14 Nov 2018

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 \
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

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

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).


noxious or harmful

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a-traditional-thanksgiving-dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!