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[dih-vawrs, -vohrs]
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  1. a judicial declaration dissolving a marriage in whole or in part, especially one that releases the marriage partners from all matrimonial obligations.Compare judicial separation.
  2. any formal separation of husband and wife according to established custom.
  3. total separation; disunion: a divorce between thought and action.
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verb (used with object), di·vorced, di·vorc·ing.
  1. to separate by divorce: The judge divorced the couple.
  2. to break the marriage contract between oneself and (one's spouse) by divorce: She divorced her husband.
  3. to separate; cut off: Life and art cannot be divorced.
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verb (used without object), di·vorced, di·vorc·ing.
  1. to get a divorce.
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Origin of divorce

1350–1400; Middle English < Anglo-French < Latin dīvortium separation, equivalent to dīvort(ere), variant of dīvertere to divert + -ium -ium
Related formsdi·vorce·a·ble, adjectivedi·vorc·er, noundi·vor·cive, adjectivenon·di·vorced, adjectiveun·di·vorce·a·ble, adjectiveun·di·vorced, adjective


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[dih-vawr-sey, -vohr-, -vawr-sey, -vohr-]
  1. a divorced man.
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Origin of divorcé

1805–15; < French, noun use of masculine past participle of divorcer < Medieval Latin dīvortiāre to divorce, derivative of Latin dīvortium divorce
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for divorce


  1. the dissolution of a marriage by judgment of a court or by accepted custom
  2. a judicial decree declaring a marriage to be dissolved
  3. a separation, esp one that is total or complete
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  1. to separate or be separated by divorce; give or obtain a divorce (to a couple or from one's spouse)
  2. (tr) to remove or separate, esp completely
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Derived Formsdivorceable, adjectivedivorcer, noundivorcive, adjective

Word Origin

C14: from Old French, from Latin dīvortium from dīvertere to separate; see divert


  1. a man who has been divorced
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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 divorce


late 14c., from Old French divorce (14c.), from Latin divortium "separation, dissolution of marriage," from divertere "to separate, leave one's husband, turn aside" (see divert). Not distinguished in English from legal separation until mid-19c.

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late 14c., from Old French divorcer, from divorce (see divorce (n.)). Related: Divorced; divorcing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper