divide

1 of 2

verb

di·​vide də-ˈvīd How to pronounce divide (audio)
divided; dividing

transitive verb

1
a
: to separate into two or more parts, areas, or groups
divide the city into wards
b
: to separate into classes, categories, or divisions
divide history into epochs
c
: cleave, part
a ship dividing the waves
2
a
: to separate into portions and give out in shares : distribute
divide profits
b
: to possess, enjoy, or make use of in common
divide the blame
c
: apportion
divides her time between the office and home
3
a
: to cause to be separate, distinct, or apart from one another
fields divided by stone walls
b
: to separate into opposing sides or parties
the issues that divide us
c
: to cause (a parliamentary body) to vote by division
4
a
: to subject (a number or quantity) to the operation of finding how many times it contains another number or quantity
divide 42 by 14
b
: to be used as a divisor with respect to (a dividend)
4 divides 16 evenly
c
: to use as a divisor
used with into
divide 14 into 42

intransitive verb

1
: to perform mathematical division
2
a(1)
: to undergo replication, multiplication, fission, or separation into parts
(2)
: to branch out
b
: to become separated or disunited especially in opinion or interest
dividable adjective

divide

2 of 2

noun

1
: an act of dividing
2
a
: a dividing ridge between drainage areas
b
: a point or line of division or disagreement
Choose the Right Synonym for divide

separate, part, divide, sever, sunder, divorce mean to become or cause to become disunited or disjointed.

separate may imply any of several causes such as dispersion, removal of one from others, or presence of an intervening thing.

separated her personal life from her career

part implies the separating of things or persons in close union or association.

vowed never to part

divide implies separating into pieces or sections by cutting or breaking.

civil war divided the nation

sever implies violence especially in the removal of a part or member.

a severed limb

sunder suggests violent rending or wrenching apart.

a city sundered by racial conflict

divorce implies separating two things that commonly interact and belong together.

cannot divorce scientific research from moral responsibility

distribute, dispense, divide, deal, dole out mean to give out, usually in shares, to each member of a group.

distribute implies an apportioning by separation of something into parts, units, or amounts.

distributed food to the needy

dispense suggests the giving of a carefully weighed or measured portion to each of a group according to due or need.

dispensed wisdom to the students

divide stresses the separation of a whole into parts and implies that the parts are equal.

three charitable groups divided the proceeds

deal emphasizes the allotment of something piece by piece.

deal out equipment and supplies

dole out implies a carefully measured portion of something that is often in short supply.

doled out what little food there was

Example Sentences

Verb She divided the pie into eight pieces. The equator divides the Earth into two hemispheres. The river divides after the bridge. A tall fence divides the two yards.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Instead of performing regular addition, divide the sum of any two numbers by 4 and take the remainder. Leila Sloman, Quanta Magazine, 12 Jan. 2023 The justices do not always divide along the usual lines in public corruption cases. Adam Liptak, New York Times, 28 Nov. 2022 Without cohesiveness and unity with our allies, autocratic forces will divide and conquer the bickering West. Jamie Dimon, WSJ, 3 Jan. 2023 In this way, these laws divide workers against each other—and undermine worker solidarity. Steven Greenhouse, The New Republic, 29 Dec. 2022 Such a move would further divide the nation, if that's possible. Cal Thomas, Arkansas Online, 28 Dec. 2022 The office will divide and distribute the donation to each school in the area, and funds will be used to help low-income families receive lunch money for students, plus other necessary goods. Diane J. Cho, Peoplemag, 27 Dec. 2022 The Lower and Upper Basin states, though, could all divide the water in the river proportionately, each taking a percentage of what flowed. Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica, 22 Dec. 2022 How will voters on the East Coast divide their votes without a contender in their region? Dallas News, 5 Dec. 2022
Noun
But Amine Bouhafa’s fine score, all ominous cello and somber bass, suggests that something more profound and destabilizing than the class divide is lying in wait, just beyond the hazy horizon. Jessica Kiang, Variety, 20 Jan. 2023 Is Biden’s unpopularity simply a reflection of Donald Trump’s toxic legacy and the country’s unbridgeable divide? Matt Bai, Washington Post, 19 Jan. 2023 But in a time when change is the watchword, the nation’s political divide looks remarkably durable. Dante Chinni, NBC News, 15 Jan. 2023 The debate over the ban on the floors of both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly made clear the stark divide on the issue. Dan Petrella, Chicago Tribune, 15 Jan. 2023 Much like the divide over electric cars—US president Joe Biden has pushed the new electric options, but some Republicans cite them as costly and inconvenient—the stove finds itself at the center of a culture war. WIRED, 12 Jan. 2023 The environmental movement to some extent enabled this cultural divide in prior decades with its emphasis on personal consumption, which lends itself to a view of environmentalism as a matter of identity politics. Liza Featherstone, The New Republic, 12 Jan. 2023 But that does not mean there is no hope for bridging that divide. Dominik Stecuła, The Conversation, 5 Jan. 2023 During evening rush-hour traffic, a driver crashed a black Audi into the center divide along Interstate 8 in Mission Valley. Andrew Joseph Garcia, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 Jan. 2023 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'divide.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English, from Latin dividere, from dis- + -videre to separate — more at widow

First Known Use

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun

1642, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of divide was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near divide

Cite this Entry

“Divide.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/divide. Accessed 2 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

divide

1 of 2 verb
di·​vide də-ˈvīd How to pronounce divide (audio)
divided; dividing
1
a
: to separate into two or more parts or pieces
b
: to separate into classes or categories
2
a
: to give out in shares
b
: to own or use in common : share
3
: to cause to be separate, different, or apart from one another
4
a
: to perform or use in mathematical division
b
: to subject (a number) to the operation of finding how many times it contains another number
divide 42 by 14
c
: to use as a divisor
divide 14 into 42
5
a
: to undergo cell division
the cell divides

divide

2 of 2 noun
: a dividing ridge between drainage areas : watershed

Medical Definition

divide

verb
di·​vide də-ˈvīd How to pronounce divide (audio)
divided; dividing

transitive verb

: to separate into two or more parts
divide a nerve surgically

intransitive verb

: to undergo replication, multiplication, fission, or separation into parts
actively dividing cells

More from Merriam-Webster on divide

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