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  1. an act or instance of departing: the time of departure; a hasty departure.
  2. divergence or deviation, as from a standard, rule, etc.: a departure from accepted teaching methods.
  3. Navigation.
    1. the distance due east or west traveled by a vessel or aircraft.
    2. point of departure.
  4. Surveying. the length of the projection, on the east-west reference line, of a survey line.
  5. Archaic. death.
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Origin of departure

1375–1425; late Middle English < Old French departëure; compare Anglo-French departir (noun use of infinitive). See depart, -ure
Related formsnon·de·par·ture, nounpre·de·par·ture, noun

Synonyms for departure

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for departure

retirement, flight, evacuation, escape, removal, exit, separation, withdrawal, exodus, passage, takeoff, retreat, walkout, shift, change, abandonment, egress, farewell, migration, vacation

Examples from the Web for departure

Contemporary Examples of departure

Historical Examples of departure

  • At my departure their tomb had been hidden in the morning mist.

  • Now this, it seems to me, is my point of departure for the estimate of my possible resources.

  • Mrs. Weston sadly missed her young friend after his departure.

    Life in London

    Edwin Hodder

  • He soon took his departure, a stableboy driving him back to the village.


    W. A. Fraser

  • For half an hour I was in momentary expectation of his departure.

    Lady Susan

    Jane Austen

British Dictionary definitions for departure


  1. the act or an instance of departing
  2. a deviation or variation from previous custom; divergence
  3. a project, course of action, venture, etcselling is a new departure for him
  4. nautical
    1. the net distance travelled due east or west by a vessel
    2. Also called: point of departurethe latitude and longitude of the point from which a vessel calculates dead reckoning
  5. a euphemistic word for death
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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

Word Origin and History for departure


mid-15c., from Old French deporteure "departure," figuratively, "death," from departir (see depart) + -ure (see -ure).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper