Meaning of SEPARATE in English


I. ˈsepəˌrāt also -eˌprāt; usu -ād+V verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English separaten, from Latin separatus, past participle of separare, from sed-, se- apart (from sed, se without) + parare to prepare, procure — more at idiot , pare

transitive verb


a. : to set or keep apart : detach

two longitudinal valleys separate the mountains into three high ranges — Samuel Van Valkenburg & Ellsworth Huntington

a pull on the tab … separates seal just below cap — Modern Packaging

separate the white from the yolk of an egg

b. : to make a distinction between : discriminate , distinguish

how difficult it is to separate religion from magic in the beliefs … of savages — W.R.Inge

there is usually not much difficulty in separate a butterfly from a moth — A.D.Imms

c. : sort

separate mail

separate cards into suits

parcels fly … as clerks separate them by regions and states — A.C.Fisher

d. : to disperse in space or time : scatter

theaters in Canada are so widely separated that the costs of travelling are prohibitive — Report: (Canadian) Royal Commission on National Development

e. slang : to cause to divest oneself : strip — used with from

tricks for separating country bumpkins from their bankrolls

separate them from … money to back ventures that never were produced — E.D.Radin

2. archaic : to set aside for a special purpose : choose , dedicate

came into existence with the sense of being a “ separated ” nation, which God was using to make a new beginning for mankind — Reinhold Niebuhr

3. : to part by or as if by a legal separation

a. : sever conjugal ties with : cause to live apart

payments made to a divorced or legally separated wife — W.C.Warren&S.S.Surrey

b. : to sever contractual relations with : discharge

he was separated from the service with the rank of captain — E.J.Kahn

more than 100 employees have been separated from the firm in the past six months

any student who does not remove his probationary status … may be separated from the institution — Bulletin of Meharry Medical College

4. : to block off : bar , segregate

a … rood screen separates the nave from the chancel — American Guide Series: New York

the rural worker … is not separated from the landed aristocracy by racial difference — P.E.James


a. : to isolate from a mixture : single out : extract

separate cream from milk by putting it through a separator

separate gold from an alloy

— often used with out

by whatever method the smaller organisms are separated out — R.E.Coker

static episodes … separated out of a larger and more complex historical situation — M.D.Geismar

b. archaic : to give off : secrete

glands, which separate a substance that has the smell of musk — Jedidiah Morse

intransitive verb

1. : to become divided

the airflow over the trailing edge of the flap has begun to separate — Skyways

the Uralian languages … separate into three branches — W.K.Matthews


a. : to sever an association : become estranged : withdraw

Puritans … unwilling to separate from the Established Church — American Guide Series: Massachusetts

b. : to cease to live together as man and wife

after two stormy years of married life the couple separated by mutual consent

3. : to go in different directions : part company : disperse

after dinner we separated, the women to the library — Lucien Price

thought the House would like to know, before it separated — Sir Winston Churchill

4. : to become isolated from a mixture

oil … separates readily from water — B.G.A.Skrotzki & W.A.Vopat


separate , part , divide , sever , sunder , and divorce can all mean to become or cause to become disunited or disjoined. separate implies a putting or keeping apart

separate the sheep from the goats

the political boundary separating this country from Mexico — R.S.Thoman

the ten centuries which separated the reign of Charlemagne and the reign of Napoleon — T.B.Macaulay

or a scattering or dispersion of units

the war separated many families

or a removal of one thing from another

separate a troublesome boy from a group

part suggests the separation, often complete, of two persons or things in close union or association, or of two parts of one thing

the two friends did not part until they had reached the station

a man and wife parted only by death

the cable parted under the strain

divide commonly stresses the idea of parts, groups, or sections resulting from cutting, breaking, partitioning, or branching

divide a cake into two pieces

the land is divided by natural boundaries such as streams

the auditorium proper divided into a pit, one or more galleries — C.F.Wittke

It can also be used in the sense of separate , especially when mutual antagonism or wide separation is suggested

the war divided many families

no religious difference arose to divide the old inhabitants from the English — G.M.Trevelyan

the suspicion which the Citizens' Committee predicted would divide neighbor from neighbor — David Clinton

sever often adds the idea of violence, suggesting forced separation, especially of part from whole or of persons joined in affection, close association, and so on

with one stroke he severed the head from the body

man's ancestors later became severed from this separate line of evolution — R.W.Murray

an immense peninsula slightly severed from the main mass — Forrest Morgan

severs relations with a hostile nation

severed friend from friend

sunder implies a violent rending or wrenching apart

the sundered atom — M.C.Faught

the dearest ties of friendship and of blood were sundered — T.B.Macaulay

divorce , in implying the legal dissolution of a marriage, usually suggests the separation of things so closely associated that they interact, are often regarded as inseparable, or commonly work, often work best, only in union

an institution concerned with general education … divorced from research and education for the professions is admittedly not a university but a college — J.B.Conant

form in art divorced from matter

divorce the worker's income from any dependence on the efforts he makes — Time

his gaiety was as divorced from scorn or cynicism as it was wedded to melancholy — John Mason Brown

II. ˈsep(ə)rə̇]t sometimes -pər]t; usu ]d.+V\ adjective

Etymology: Latin separatus, past participle of separare to separate


a. archaic : characterized by segregation from other people : solitary , secluded

the tendency of prolonged separate confinement is to affect the mind — Edinburgh Review

the plan of my bungalow, with all convenience for being separate and sulky when I please — Sir Walter Scott

b. : having an incorporeal existence : disembodied , immaterial

being … is now seen as the nature which constitutes separate entity — Alan Gewirth

c. : set or kept apart : standing alone : detached , isolated

the more perfect the artist, the more completely separate in him will be the man who suffers and the mind which creates — T.S.Eliot

ceremonial chambers … were built as separate units in the central courtyards — American Guide Series: Arizona


a. : not shared with another : individual , single

group consciousness … makes the individual think lightly of his own separate interests — M.R.Cohen

the world's largest city deserves separate consideration — L.D.Stamp

b. often capitalized : estranged from a parent body

there were 90 Separate churches, with 6,490 members — F.S.Mead


a. : existing by itself : autonomous , independent

the partitioning of India created two separate jute economies — F.F.George

reorganization of schools into separate primary and postprimary units — H.C.Dent

b. : dissimilar in nature or identity : distinct , different

my most recent works, in their separate ways, embody this tendency — Aaron Copland

the full bibliography … lists 2204 separate publications — Geographical Journal

built-in facilities … permit cooking in seven separate ways without the use of additional utensils — Report of General Motors Corp.

Synonyms: see distinct , single

III. noun

( -s )

1. usually capitalized : new light a ; especially : separate baptist

2. : offprint

sent out separates and reprints of his major monographs — J.C.Burnham

3. : a group of soil particles of a definite size or grade obtained in separation (as in mechanical analysis)

4. separates plural : articles of dress designed to be worn interchangeably with others to form various costume combinations

IV. transitive verb

: dislocate 1a

separated his left shoulder

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.