verb (used with object), sep·a·rat·ed, sep·a·rat·ing.

  1. to keep apart or divide, as by an intervening barrier or space: to separate two fields by a fence.
  2. to put, bring, or force apart; part: to separate two fighting boys.
  3. to set apart; disconnect; dissociate: to separate church and state.
  4. to remove or sever from association, service, etc., especially legally or formally: He was separated from the army right after V-E Day.
  5. to sort, part, divide, or disperse (an assemblage, mass, compound, etc.), as into individual units, components, or elements.
  6. to take by parting or dividing; extract (usually followed by from or out): to separate metal from ore.
  7. Mathematics. to write (the variables of a differential equation) in a form in which the differentials of the independent and dependent variables are, respectively, functions of these variables alone: We can separate the variables to solve the equation.Compare separation of variables.

verb (used without object), sep·a·rat·ed, sep·a·rat·ing.

  1. to part company; withdraw from personal association (often followed by from): to separate from a church.
  2. (of a married pair) to stop living together but without getting a divorce.
  3. to draw or come apart; become divided, disconnected, or detached.
  4. to become parted from a mass or compound: Cream separates from milk.
  5. to take or go in different directions: We have to separate at the crossroad.


  1. detached, disconnected, or disjoined.
  2. unconnected; distinct; unique: two separate questions.
  3. being or standing apart; distant or dispersed: two separate houses; The desert has widely separate oases.
  4. existing or maintained independently: separate organizations.
  5. individual or particular: each separate item.
  6. not shared; individual or private: separate checks; separate rooms.
  7. (sometimes initial capital letter) noting or pertaining to a church or other organization no longer associated with the original or parent organization.


  1. Usually separates. women’s outer garments that may be worn in combination with a variety of others to make different ensembles, as matching and contrasting blouses, skirts, and sweaters.
  2. offprint(def 1).
  3. a bibliographical unit, as an article, chapter, or other portion of a larger work, printed from the same type but issued separately, sometimes with additional pages.

verb (ˈsɛpəˌreɪt)

  1. (tr) to act as a barrier betweena range of mountains separates the two countries
  2. to put or force or be put or forced apart
  3. to part or be parted from a mass or group
  4. (tr) to discriminate betweento separate the men from the boys
  5. to divide or be divided into component parts; sort or be sorted
  6. to sever or be severed
  7. (intr) (of a married couple) to cease living together by mutual agreement or after obtaining a decree of judicial separation

adjective (ˈsɛprɪt, ˈsɛpərɪt)

  1. existing or considered independentlya separate problem
  2. disunited or apart
  3. set apart from the main body or mass
  4. distinct, individual, or particular
  5. solitary or withdrawn
  6. (sometimes capital) designating or relating to a Church or similar institution that has ceased to have associations with an original parent organization

v.late 14c., from Latin separatus, past participle of separare “to pull apart,” from se- “apart” (see secret) + parare “make ready, prepare” (see pare). Sever (q.v.) is a doublet, via French. Related: Separated; separating. adj.“detached, kept apart,” c.1600, from separate (v.) or from Latin separatus. Separate but equal in reference to U.S. segregation policies on railroads is attested from 1888. Separate development, official name of apartheid in South Africa, is from 1955. Related: Separately (1550s); separateness. Frequently the colored coach is little better than a cattle car. Generally one half the smoking car is reserved for the colored car. Often only a cloth curtain or partition run half way up separates this so-called colored car from the smoke, obscene language, and foul air of the smokers’ half of the car. All classes and conditions of colored humanity, from the most cultured and refined to the most degraded and filthy, without regard to sex, good breeding or ability to pay for better accommodation, are crowded into this separate, but equal (?) half car. [Rev. Norman B. Wood, “The White Side of a Black Subject,” 1897]

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