[ verb, adjective bahy-fer-keyt, bahy-fur-keyt; adjective also bahy-fer-kit, bahy-fur- ]
/ verb, adjective 藞ba瑟 f蓹r藢ke瑟t, ba瑟藞f蓽r ke瑟t; adjective also 藞ba瑟 f蓹r k瑟t, ba瑟藞f蓽r- /
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See synonyms for: bifurcate / bifurcated / bifurcation on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with or without object), bi路fur路cat路ed, bi路fur路cat路ing.
to divide or fork into two branches.
divided into two branches.
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Origin of bifurcate

1605鈥15; <Medieval Latin bifurc膩tus, past participle of bifurc膩re (bi-bi-1 + furc(a) fork + -膩tus-ate1)


bi路fur路cate路ly [bahy-fer-keyt-lee; bahy-fur-keyt-lee, -kit-], /藢ba瑟 f蓹r藞ke瑟t li; ba瑟藞f蓽r ke瑟t li, -k瑟t-/, adverbbi路fur路ca路tion, noun

Words nearby bifurcate

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 漏 Random House, Inc. 2023


What does聽bifurcate mean?

Birfurcate means to divide or fork into two branches.

Things can bifurcate on their own or in an otherwise passive way, as in That鈥檚 where the river bifurcates into two branches, or they can be bifurcated by someone, as in We bifurcated the road into two lanes so more people could exit at once.聽

The word bifurcate can be used as an adjective meaning divided into two branches, but the adjective bifurcated is more commonly used in this way. The word bifurcation refers to the act of bifurcating or something that is bifurcated. These terms are most often used in technical and scientific contexts, such as engineering and medicine.

Example: The hiking trail bifurcates about three miles in, so make sure you go down the left branch.

Where does聽bifurcate come from?

The first records of bifurcate come from the early 1600s. It comes from the Medieval Latin bifurc膩tus, formed from the prefix bi-, meaning 鈥渢wo,鈥 and the root furc(a), meaning 鈥渇ork鈥 (as in a fork in the road or a river).

In normal conversation, you鈥檇 say that a road or a river forks, not that it bifurcates, unless you were being technical about it. Bifurcate is used in many contexts in which structures are discussed in technical or scientific terms. Bifurcations can be found throughout nature in things like Y-shaped flowers, the tongues of snakes, even parts of the human body that fork into different channels, such as the arteries of the heart.

Bifurcate can also be used in the context of entities like organizations or governments that are split into different parts or factions. In golf, bifurcation refers to the proposal to have different equipment for professional and amateur players.

Things don鈥檛 always fork exactly in two鈥攖hey can also trifurcate or furcate into multiple branches.

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What are some other forms related to bifurcate?

  • bifurcated (past tense verb, adjective)
  • bifurcation (noun)

What are some synonyms for bifurcate?

What are some words that share a root or word element with bifurcate?聽


What are some words that often get used in discussing bifurcate?

How is聽bifurcate used in real life?

Bifurcate is usually used in technical or scientific contexts, especially biology, medicine, and engineering.



Try using聽bifurcate!

Which of the following things is likely to bifurcate?

A. a tree limb
B. an artery
C. a river
D. all of the above

How to use bifurcate in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for bifurcate


verb (藞ba瑟f蓹藢ke瑟t)
to fork or divide into two parts or branches
adjective (瑟ba瑟藞f蓹藢ke瑟t, -k瑟t)
forked or divided into two sections or branches

Derived forms of bifurcate

bifurcation, noun

Word Origin for bifurcate

C17: from Medieval Latin bifurc膩tus, from Latin bifurcus, from bi- 1 + furca fork
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition 漏 William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 漏 HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for bifurcate

[ b墨f蓹r-k膩t鈥, b墨-f没r- ]

Forked or divided into two parts or branches, as the Y-shaped styles of certain flowers or the tongues of snakes.
The American Heritage庐 Science Dictionary Copyright 漏 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.