sev·​er | \ ˈse-vər How to pronounce sever (audio) \
severed; severing\ ˈsev-​riŋ How to pronounce sever (audio) , ˈse-​və-​ \

Definition of sever

transitive verb

: to put or keep apart : divide especially : to remove (something, such as a part) by or as if by cutting

intransitive verb

: to become separated

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Choose the Right Synonym for sever

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

Examples of sever in a Sentence

He severed the lowest tree limbs. His finger was severed in the accident. Activists are asking the government to sever all diplomatic relations with the country.
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Recent Examples on the Web The taxpayer did not sever ties to California, and retained closer ties to California than to the U.K. Robert W. Wood, Forbes, 20 Sep. 2021 If Kelly’s co-defendants demand a quick trial, the judge could decide to sever Kelly from the case and have a separate trial for the associates. Jason Meisner,, 1 Oct. 2021 In exchange, the Taliban agreed to sever ties with Al-Qaida and stop attacks on U.S. forces. Chelsey Cox, USA TODAY, 27 Aug. 2021 Womack and her lawyer are now pushing to sever the business claims from the wrongful death claims so the former can be heard on a faster timetable. Nancy Dillon, Rolling Stone, 29 Sep. 2021 Rejected by much of her family, Mina has also come to be reunited with her brother, who has remained in Lebanon and refused to sever their connection., 23 Sep. 2021 On May 16, 2018, Riordan’s lawyer delivered McKenna a letter stating that Riordan wished to sever their business partnership. Dallas News, 2 Sep. 2021 Nuclear Development has said that TVA sought to not close the deal because ND had encouraged Memphis Gas, Light & Water – TVA’s largest client -- to sever ties with TVA because more affordable electricity could be purchased elsewhere. Paul Gattis |, al, 1 July 2021 Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez threatened to sever the city’s connection to the agency if the allegations weren’t addressed. Adam Elmahrek, Los Angeles Times, 30 June 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sever.' 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 sever

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for sever

Middle English, from Anglo-French severer, from Latin separare — more at separate

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Time Traveler for sever

Time Traveler

The first known use of sever was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near sever

seven-year apple



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Statistics for sever

Last Updated

25 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sever.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for sever



English Language Learners Definition of sever

: to cut off (something) : to remove or separate (something) by cutting
: to end (a relationship, connection, etc.) completely


sev·​er | \ ˈse-vər How to pronounce sever (audio) \
severed; severing

Kids Definition of sever

: to cut off … the sword … severed the tip of his tail.— Brian Jacques, Redwall


transitive verb
sev·​er | \ ˈse-vər How to pronounce sever (audio) \
severed; severing

Legal Definition of sever

1 : to end (a joint tenancy) by ending one or all of the unities of time, title, possession, or interest (as by conveying one tenant's interest to another party)
2 : to separate (as a contract) into different parts (as independent obligations) in order to treat each separately
3a : to try (criminal offenses or defendants) separately in order to avoid prejudice
b : to split (a criminal trial) into multiple trials in order to avoid prejudice
c : to try (civil claims or issues pleaded in the same case) separately

Other Words from sever

severance \ ˈse-​vrəns, -​və-​rens How to pronounce sever (audio) \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on sever

Nglish: Translation of sever for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sever for Arabic Speakers


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