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schism

[siz-uh m, skiz-]
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noun
  1. division or disunion, especially into mutually opposed parties.
  2. the parties so formed.
  3. Ecclesiastical.
    1. a formal division within, or separation from, a church or religious body over some doctrinal difference.
    2. the state of a sect or body formed by such division.
    3. the offense of causing or seeking to cause such a division.
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Origin of schism

1350–1400; < Late Latin (Vulgate) sc(h)isma (stem sc(h)ismat-) < Greek, derivative of schízein to split, with -ma (stem -mat-) noun suffix of result; replacing Middle English (s)cisme, sisme < Middle French < Late Latin, as above
Related formsschism·less, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for schism

schism

noun
  1. the division of a group into opposing factions
  2. the factions so formed
  3. division within or separation from an established Church, esp the Roman Catholic Church, not necessarily involving differences in doctrine
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Word Origin

C14: from Church Latin schisma, from Greek skhisma a cleft, from skhizein to split
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 schism

n.

late 14c., scisme, "dissention within the church," from Old French scisme, cisme "a cleft, split" (12c.), from Church Latin schisma, from Greek skhisma (genitive skhismatos) "division, cleft," in New Testament applied metaphorically to divisions in the Church (e.g. I Cor. xii.25), from stem of skhizein "to split" (see shed (v.)). Spelling restored 16c., but pronunciation unchanged. Often in reference to the Great Schism (1378-1417) in the Western Church.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

schism in Culture

schism

[(siz-uhm, skiz-uhm)]

A break within a church, such as the division between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.