[sek-shuh n]
  1. a part that is cut off or separated.
  2. a distinct part or subdivision of anything, as an object, country, community, class, or the like: the poor section of town; the left section of a drawer.
  3. a distinct part or subdivision of a writing, as of a newspaper, legal code, chapter, etc.: the financial section of a daily paper; section 2 of the bylaws.
  4. one of a number of parts that can be fitted together to make a whole: sections of a fishing rod.
  5. (in most of the U.S. west of Ohio) one of the 36 numbered subdivisions, each one square mile (2.59 sq. km or 640 acres), of a township.
  6. an act or instance of cutting; separation by cutting.
  7. Surgery.
    1. the making of an incision.
    2. an incision.
  8. a thin slice of a tissue, mineral, or the like, as for microscopic examination.
  9. a representation of an object as it would appear if cut by a plane, showing its internal structure.
  10. Military.
    1. a small unit consisting of two or more squads.
    2. Also called staff section.any of the subdivisions of a staff.
    3. a small tactical division in naval and air units.
  11. Railroads.
    1. a division of a sleeping car containing both an upper and a lower berth.
    2. a length of trackage, roadbed, signal equipment, etc., maintained by one crew.
  12. any of two or more trains, buses, or the like, running on the same route and schedule at the same time, one right behind the other, and considered as one unit, as when a second is necessary to accommodate more passengers than the first can carry: On holidays the New York to Boston train runs in three sections.
  13. a segment of a naturally segmented fruit, as of an orange or grapefruit.
  14. a division of an orchestra or band containing all the instruments of one class: a rhythm section.
  15. Bookbinding. signature(def 8).
  16. Also called section mark. a mark used to indicate a subdivision of a book, chapter, or the like, or as a mark of reference to a footnote.
  17. Theater. one of a series of circuits for controlling certain lights, as footlights.
  18. shape(def 12).
verb (used with object)
  1. to cut or divide into sections.
  2. to cut through so as to present a section.
  3. Surgery. to make an incision.

Origin of section

1550–60; < Latin sectiōn- (stem of sectiō) a cutting, equivalent to sect(us) (past participle of secāre to cut; see saw1) + -iōn- -ion
Related formshalf-sec·tion, nounmul·ti·sec·tion, adjectiveun·sec·tioned, adjective

Synonyms for section

1. See part. 8. specimen, sample, cutting. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for half-section

Historical Examples of half-section

  • Chris Arnson has traded his half-section for a place down on the river.

    O Pioneers!

    Willa Cather

  • He had a half-section of land there, and his son-in-law as much more just adjoining.

    Across America

    James F. Rusling

  • He's worried about his land payments, and I tell him he'd be happier with a half-section.

    The Prairie Wife

    Arthur Stringer

  • But I wanted the land, too—not merely a half-section for myself, but the whole valley—only I didn't want it for myself.

    The Long Chance

    Peter B. Kyne

  • There was always the chance that some smart nester would come, file on a half-section and start boring artesian wells.

    The Long Chance

    Peter B. Kyne

British Dictionary definitions for half-section


  1. engineering a scale drawing of a section through a symmetrical object that shows only half the object


  1. a part cut off or separated from the main body of something
  2. a part or subdivision of a piece of writing, book, etcthe sports section of the newspaper
  3. one of several component parts
  4. a distinct part or subdivision of a country, community, etc
  5. US and Canadian an area one mile square (640 acres) in a public survey, esp in the western parts of the US and Canada
  6. NZ a plot of land for building on, esp in a suburban area
  7. the section of a railway track that is maintained by a single crew or is controlled by a particular signal box
  8. the act or process of cutting or separating by cutting
  9. a representation of a portion of a building or object exposed when cut by an imaginary vertical plane so as to show its construction and interior
  10. geometry
    1. a plane surface formed by cutting through a solid
    2. the shape or area of such a plane surfaceCompare cross section (def. 1)
  11. surgery any procedure involving the cutting or division of an organ, structure, or part, such as a Caesarian section
  12. a thin slice of biological tissue, mineral, etc, prepared for examination by a microscope
  13. a segment of an orange or other citrus fruit
  14. a small military formation, typically comprising two or more squads or aircraft
  15. Australian and NZ a fare stage on a bus, tram, etc
  16. music
    1. an extended division of a composition or movement that forms a coherent part of the structurethe development section
    2. a division in an orchestra, band, etc, containing instruments belonging to the same classthe brass section
  17. Also called: signature, gathering, gather, quire a folded printing sheet or sheets ready for gathering and binding
verb (tr)
  1. to cut or divide into sections
  2. to cut through so as to reveal a section
  3. (in drawing, esp mechanical drawing) to shade so as to indicate sections
  4. surgery to cut or divide (an organ, structure, or part)
  5. British social welfare to have (a mentally disturbed person) confined in a mental hospital under an appropriate section of the mental health legislation

Word Origin for section

C16: from Latin sectiō, from secāre to cut
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 half-section



late 14c., "intersection of two straight lines; division of a scale;" from Old French section or directly from Latin sectionem (nominative sectio) "a cutting, cutting off, division," noun of action from past participle stem of secare "to cut," from PIE root *sek- "to cut" (cf. Old Church Slavonic seko, sešti "to cut," se čivo "ax, hatchet;" Lithuanian isekti "to engrave, carve;" Albanian šate "mattock;" Old Saxon segasna, Old English sigðe "scythe;" Old English secg "sword," seax "knife, short sword;" Old Irish doescim "I cut;" Latin saxum "rock, stone").

From 1550s as "act of cutting or dividing." Meaning "subdivision of a written work, statute, etc." is from 1570s. Meaning "a part cut off from the rest" is from early 15c.



"divide into sections," 1819, from section (n.). Related: Sectioned; sectioning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

half-section in Medicine


  1. A cut or division.
  2. The act or process of separating or cutting, especially the surgical cutting or dividing of tissue.
  3. A thin slice, as of tissue, suitable for microscopic examination.
  1. To separate or divide into parts.
  2. To cut or divide tissue surgically.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.