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[verb sep-uh-reyt; adjective, noun sep-er-it] /verb ˈsɛp əˌreɪt; adjective, noun ˈsɛp ər ɪt/
verb (used with object), separated, separating.
to keep apart or divide, as by an intervening barrier or space:
to separate two fields by a fence.
to put, bring, or force apart; part:
to separate two fighting boys.
to set apart; disconnect; dissociate:
to separate church and state.
to remove or sever from association, service, etc., especially legally or formally:
He was separated from the army right after V-E Day.
to sort, part, divide, or disperse (an assemblage, mass, compound, etc.), as into individual units, components, or elements.
to take by parting or dividing; extract (usually followed by from or out):
to separate metal from ore.
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.
verb (used without object), separated, separating.
to part company; withdraw from personal association (often followed by from):
to separate from a church.
(of a married pair) to stop living together but without getting a divorce.
to draw or come apart; become divided, disconnected, or detached.
to become parted from a mass or compound:
Cream separates from milk.
to take or go in different directions:
We have to separate at the crossroad.
detached, disconnected, or disjoined.
unconnected; distinct; unique:
two separate questions.
being or standing apart; distant or dispersed:
two separate houses; The desert has widely separate oases.
existing or maintained independently:
separate organizations.
individual or particular:
each separate item.
not shared; individual or private:
separate checks; separate rooms.
(sometimes initial capital letter) noting or pertaining to a church or other organization no longer associated with the original or parent organization.
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.
offprint (def 1).
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.
Origin of separate
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English (noun and adj.) < Latin sēparātus (past participle of sēparāre), equivalent to sē- se- + par(āre) to furnish, produce, obtain, prepare + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
separately, adverb
separateness, noun
nonseparating, adjective
preseparate, verb (used with object), preseparated, preseparating.
reseparate, verb, reseparated, reseparating.
unseparate, adjective
unseparately, adverb
unseparateness, noun
unseparated, adjective
unseparating, adjective
well-separated, adjective
1, 2. sever, sunder, split. Separate, divide imply a putting apart or keeping apart of things from each other. To separate is to remove from each other things previously associated: to separate a mother from her children. To divide is to split or break up carefully according to measurement, rule, or plan: to divide a cake into equal parts. 3. disjoin, disengage. 13. unattached, severed, discrete. 15. secluded, isolated. 16. independent.
1–3. unite, connect. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for separateness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • For real love is an intense realisation of the "separateness" of all our souls.

    A Miscellany of Men G. K. Chesterton
  • This is His separateness, in which we are to be made like Him.

    Holy in Christ Andrew Murray
  • His mind naturally dwelt upon the principle of separateness.

    Creative Unity Rabindranath Tagore
  • It emphasises the negative side of the individual—his separateness.

    Creative Unity Rabindranath Tagore
  • This sense of separateness is vanity, and is the bed of all wrong-doing.

    Irish Fairy Tales James Stephens
  • The difficulty is how to get unity and separateness at one and the same time.

  • separateness, naturally, cannot coincide with the sense of mutual property.

  • With the separateness that let them complement each other to form the whole.

    The Way of Decision M. C. Pease
  • But in some districts there were clearly defined lines of separateness.

British Dictionary definitions for separateness


verb (ˈsɛpəˌreɪt)
(transitive) to act as a barrier between: a range of mountains separates the two countries
to put or force or be put or forced apart
to part or be parted from a mass or group
(transitive) to discriminate between: to separate the men from the boys
to divide or be divided into component parts; sort or be sorted
to sever or be severed
(intransitive) (of a married couple) to cease living together by mutual agreement or after obtaining a decree of judicial separation
adjective (ˈsɛprɪt; ˈsɛpərɪt)
existing or considered independently: a separate problem
disunited or apart
set apart from the main body or mass
distinct, individual, or particular
solitary or withdrawn
(sometimes capital) designating or relating to a Church or similar institution that has ceased to have associations with an original parent organization
Derived Forms
separately, adverb
separateness, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Latin sēparāre, from sē- apart + parāre to obtain
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for separateness



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.



"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]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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