verb (used with object)

  1. to separate (a part) from the whole, as by cutting or the like.
  2. to divide into parts, especially forcibly; cleave.
  3. to break off or dissolve (ties, relations, etc.).
  4. Law. to divide into parts; disunite (an estate, titles of a statute, etc.).
  5. to distinguish; discriminate between.

verb (used without object)

  1. to become separated from each other; become divided into parts.


  1. to put or be put apart; separate
  2. to divide or be divided into parts
  3. (tr) to break off or dissolve (a tie, relationship, etc)

v.c.1300, from Anglo-French severer, Old French sevrer “to separate” (12c., later in French restricted to “to wean,” i.e. “to separare from the mother”), from Vulgar Latin *seperare, from Latin separare “to separate” (see separate (v.)).

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