\ 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

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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

The class will be split into modern-era (five), senior category (10), contributors (three) and coaches (two). Ryan O'halloran, The Denver Post, "Broncos owner Pat Bowlen officially joins Pro Football Hall of Fame," 3 Aug. 2019 The excitement and intrigue of the space race, which peaked 50 years ago with the first moonwalks, lives on in Florey, an 87-year-old Costa Mesa resident who has lived in the same Mesa Verde split-level home since 1968. Hillary Davis, Daily Pilot, "Costa Mesa man’s technology went to the moon and back throughout the Apollo era," 2 Aug. 2019 When NBC News visited his district in January, voters were still split on his support. NBC News, "Iowa voters talk Steve King, President Trump and racial divide," 1 Aug. 2019 Inside, a rounded, split-level floor plan features walls of picture windows and vaulted ceilings with exposed beams. Jack Flemming, Los Angeles Times, "Actress Niecy Nash looks to cut loose from Bell Canyon compound," 31 July 2019 Like the first debate series in Miami in June, the candidates are split into two groups and will be asked questions by journalists, this time from CNN. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "Will the candidates talk housing, transportation at the next Democratic debates?," 30 July 2019 The local television stations switched over to split-screen feeds of the protests and reporters squeezed into a conference room. Emily Witt, The New Yorker, "Puerto Rico’s Loud and Fervent Days of Protest," 26 July 2019 Around then, the Justice Department and the F.T.C. split up potential antitrust investigations into Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple, this person said. Daisuke Wakabayashi, New York Times, "Justice Department Opens Antitrust Review of Big Tech Companies," 23 July 2019 The Sox and Cubs split the two-game weekend series and the four-game season series. Lamond Pope, chicagotribune.com, "Eloy Jimenez’s 2-run homer propels the White Sox to a 3-1 win over the Cubs," 7 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Last month, a split council voted to give Pietig a raise of 2.5% in each of the next two years, making his salary about $280,000 annually, according to Gavin Curran, the city’s director of administrative services. Daily Pilot, "Laguna Beach council to consider 10% pay raise for assistant city manager," 19 July 2019 Police found one man on the ground with a split nose, barely conscious, with two other men attempting to wake him. oregonlive.com, "'Seinfeld’-style bottle deposit scam thwarted: Forest Grove Police Log," 1 July 2019 America’s political divide often creates split-screen moments. The Economist, "America is not such a laggard on climate change as it seems," 28 June 2019 Tuesday's decision overturns the court's own ruling three years ago when a split panel of justices said in Coyne v. Walker that Evers could write rules and regulations related to education policy on his own — without permission from then-Gov. Molly Beck, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin Supreme Court: State superintendent must seek approval before setting education policy," 25 June 2019 Perhaps the universe has a split identity: Maybe the early universe studied by Planck, and the late universe studied by the Hubble telescope, really were inconsistent, due to some undiscovered aspect of how the universe works. Corey S. Powell, Discover Magazine, "Why We Still Don't Know How Fast the Universe is Expanding," 1 Jan. 2019 Today, the council appears to be split 3-2 with Democrats in the majority. San Diego Union-Tribune, "New rules to govern how the Escondido City Council conducts business," 19 July 2019 The commission was split, and the city decided to leave the statue up and to add context. Nancy Coleman, New York Times, "Angered by This Roosevelt Statue? A Museum Wants Visitors to Weigh In," 15 July 2019 In the Alaska Senate, the 13 Republicans in the 20-member body are split 7-6, with Senate President Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, leading the larger bloc, which is in favor of the smaller dividend. James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, "Red on Red: Republican split in Alaska Legislature contributes to impasse," 7 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Most Browns fans remember last year’s split between Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Terry Pluto, cleveland.com, "Cleveland Browns: What’s behind Bob Wylie ripping Freddie Kitchens? — Terry Pluto," 7 Aug. 2019 The Texas Halo Fund has a $100,000 prize that could be awarded to one company or split between multiple companies. Andrea Leinfelder, Houston Chronicle, "Program to connect women-led startups with large health care organizations," 6 Aug. 2019 This was an important because the last meeting ended with the sides far apart on the economic split and left to return to their corners and find flexibility in their proposals. Albert Breer, SI.com, "How Stafford Managed His Wife’s Illness, Brady’s Contract Situation, More NFL Notes," 5 Aug. 2019 Though many thought Johnson and Martin's relationship would last, the split came after 18 months together. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Dakota Johnson and Chris Martin Fuel Rumors They're Back Together," 2 Aug. 2019 The budget deal the Senate is passing today will raise spending by $320 billion, split between defense and non-defense measures, in the context of deficits that have already soared to more than $1 trillion per year. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Thursday’s budget deal proves once again Republicans never cared about the deficit," 1 Aug. 2019 Before the couple split from Kate Middleton and Prince William's Kensington Palace account on Instagram, the palace was forced to heavily police its comments section, to combat hateful and bigoted messages. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Prince Harry and Jane Goodall Talk About Unconscious Racism in New Interview," 30 July 2019 Big Sean is writing from experience: Since breaking into fame earlier this decade, he's been through multiple high-profile splits and the associated rumor-mongering that goes with the territory. Brian Mccollum, Detroit Free Press, "Watch Big Sean's new video for 'Single Again,' filmed around Detroit," 29 July 2019 This was the third meeting between the two teams, having split the first two meetings. baltimoresun.com, "Local boys 13U soccer team wins National Championship," 29 July 2019

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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Learn More about split

Statistics for split

Last Updated

8 Aug 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 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

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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

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a wrong name or inappropriate designation

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