\ 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

News of the couple’s engagement came as a surprise to some who were confused by the timing seeing as Bieber recently split from Selena Gomez and Baldwin appeared at the Met Gala with then boyfriend Shawn Mendes just two months ago. Julius Young, Fox News, "Justin Bieber's engagement to Hailey Baldwin 'felt right,' source says," 10 July 2018 The Red Sox ended the day with a 2 1/2-game lead in the AL East — their biggest since April — over the New York Yankees, who split a doubleheader in Baltimore. Jimmy Golen, OrlandoSentinel.com, "J.D. Martinez homers again as Red Sox blank Rangers 5-0," 9 July 2018 There’s a calmer, cheaper way to split from your spouse in your sunset years. Erin Arvedlund, Philly.com, "Senior splitting from your spouse? 'Collaborative divorce' is a friendlier, cheaper way," 5 July 2018 This also meant that testicondy evolved after afrotherians split from other placental mammals, about 100 million years ago, which suggests the common ancestor of all mammals did indeed lower their testes, Dr. Hiller said. New York Times, "The Evolutionary Origin of Descending Testicles," 29 June 2018 On Tuesday, Mosby easily beat Bates and another credible challenger, Thiru Vignarajah, who split the opposition vote, giving the incumbent a second term. Dan Rodricks, baltimoresun.com, "Amid epic police corruption, Mosby eludes blame for surge in violence," 27 June 2018 Technically, this isn't Pitt's first major role since splitting from Angelina Jolie. Andrea Mandell, USA TODAY, "See Brad Pitt's first official (groovy!) photo on set after split from Angelina Jolie," 27 June 2018 The team found that the Cizhutuo panda split from living giant pandas around 183,000 years ago. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "This Ancient Panda Skull Belongs to a Previously Unknown Lineage," 20 June 2018 Gerrard will kick off his new managerial challenge with a tricky encounter against Aberdeen who split the two sides in the league last year by finishing second. SI.com, "Steven Gerrard Reportedly Hoping for Sign Former Liverpool Teammate Ahead of Maiden SPFL Campaign," 20 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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 So Jennifer was living a little bit of a split life? CBS News, "Unsolved murder case is the talk of small Texas town 16 years later," 19 May 2018 North earns split Waukesha North nearly came away with two big wins over fellow conference contenders, but the Northstars had to settle for a split. Andrew Gruman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Waukesha County boys hoops roundup: Mukwonago surges into first-place tie in the Classic 8," 11 Jan. 2018 The Navy and Marine Corps increasingly explains that modern missions require more split or dis-aggregated operations. Kris Osborn, Fox News, "Navy pushes for more amphibious assault ships," 13 July 2018 He was placed on the Nets’ G League team but split time during the season between the NBA and G League and made his NBA debut. Shannon Ryan, chicagotribune.com, "Loyola guard Donte Ingram lands with Bulls summer league team," 22 June 2018 Barreto said immigration has the greatest potential impact in races that pit Democrats against Republicans over the the issue and in closely split districts. Taryn Luna, sacbee, "Is 'sanctuary state' the best political issue for the GOP in years? Not in California, experts warn," 29 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

After yesterday’s doubleheader split against the Mets, six of the eight regulars in the Phillies lineup boasted an OPS+ of at least 107. David Murphy, Philly.com, "The Phillies need another starter. Could he be pitching tonight? | David Murphy," 10 July 2018 Human drivers sometimes must make split-second decisions. The Christian Science Monitor, "AI can have values if not a conscience," 2 July 2018 That case ended in a 4-1-4 split, with Kennedy’s being the separate, middle opinion. Emily Atkin, The New Republic, "‘There’s No Happier Person in America Right Now Than Scott Pruitt’," 29 June 2018 The home-road splits (as both a starter and reliever) have been interesting. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee Brewers pitching prospect Corbin Burnes rolls with the punches," 26 June 2018 There's also the question of what universal apps mean for revenue splits, since Apple gets a 30 percent cut of all revenue from apps sold in the App Store (or in the case of long-term subscription apps, 15 percent). Lauren Goode, WIRED, "Apple's Software Chief Details How iOS Apps Will Run on Macs," 5 June 2018 In a game of split-second decision-making like that, hitting the 144 fps mark would be exceptional, but this is still great performance with tons of eye candy and no loss of action. Stefan Etienne, The Verge, "New gaming laptops haven’t solved the battery life problem," 30 May 2018 Early reviews seem split over Testing, with some praising this new, more experimental direction the rapper has taken and others wondering if the whole thing might be too weird. Tom Philip, GQ, "A$AP Rocky Just Dropped His New Album Out of Nowhere," 25 May 2018 Eleanor and Louis split in March 2015, but the two reportedly got back together in January 2017 after the death of Louis' mom before ending things again for good. Kristin Koch, Seventeen, "9 Regular People Who Dated Celebs," 24 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.

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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

Phrases Related to split

split on

split the ticket

splitting headache

Statistics for split

Last Updated

19 Sep 2018

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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Comments on split

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to make amends

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