[ verb sep-uh-reyt; adjective, noun sep-er-it ]
See synonyms for: separateseparatedseparatesseparating on

verb (used with object),sep·a·rat·ed, sep·a·rat·ing.
  1. to keep apart or divide, as by an intervening barrier or space: to separate two fields by a fence.

  2. to put, bring, or force apart; part: to separate two fighting boys.

  1. to set apart; disconnect; dissociate: to separate church and state.

  2. to remove or sever from association, service, etc., especially legally or formally: He was separated from the army right after V-E Day.

  3. to sort, part, divide, or disperse (an assemblage, mass, compound, etc.), as into individual units, components, or elements.

  4. to take by parting or dividing; extract (usually followed by from or out): to separate metal from ore.

  5. Mathematics. to write (the variables of a differential equation) in a form in which the differentials of the independent and dependent variables are, respectively, functions of these variables alone: We can separate the variables to solve the equation.: Compare separation of variables.

verb (used without object),sep·a·rat·ed, sep·a·rat·ing.
  1. to part company; withdraw from personal association (often followed by from): to separate from a church.

  2. (of a married pair) to stop living together but without getting a divorce.

  1. to draw or come apart; become divided, disconnected, or detached.

  2. to become parted from a mass or compound: Cream separates from milk.

  3. to take or go in different directions: We have to separate at the crossroad.

  1. detached, disconnected, or disjoined.

  2. unconnected; distinct; unique: two separate questions.

  1. being or standing apart; distant or dispersed: two separate houses;The desert has widely separate oases.

  2. existing or maintained independently: separate organizations.

  3. individual or particular: each separate item.

  4. not shared; individual or private: separate checks;separate rooms.

  5. Sometimes Sep·a·rate . noting or relating to a church or other organization no longer associated with the original or parent organization.

  1. Usually sep·a·rates . women's outer garments that may be worn in combination with a variety of others to make different ensembles, as matching and contrasting blouses, skirts, and sweaters.

  1. a bibliographical unit, as an article, chapter, or other portion of a larger work, printed from the same type but issued separately, sometimes with additional pages.

Origin of separate

First recorded in 1400–50; from late Middle English (noun and adjective), from Latin sēparātus, past participle of sēparāre, equivalent to sē- se- + parāre “to furnish, produce, obtain”; see prepare

synonym study For separate

1, 2. Separate, divide imply a putting apart or keeping apart of things from each other. To separate is to remove from each other things previously associated: to separate a mother from her children. To divide is to split or break up carefully according to measurement, rule, or plan: to divide a cake into equal parts.

Other words for separate

Opposites for separate

Other words from separate

  • sep·a·rate·ly, adverb
  • sep·a·rate·ness, noun
  • non·sep·a·rat·ing, adjective
  • pre·sep·a·rate, verb (used with object), pre·sep·a·rat·ed, pre·sep·a·rat·ing.
  • re·sep·a·rate, verb, re·sep·a·rat·ed, re·sep·a·rat·ing.
  • un·sep·a·rate, adjective
  • un·sep·a·rate·ness, noun
  • un·sep·a·rat·ed, adjective
  • un·sep·a·rat·ing, adjective
  • well-sep·a·rat·ed, adjective

Words Nearby separate Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use separate in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for separate


  1. (tr) to act as a barrier between: a range of mountains separates the two countries

  2. to put or force or be put or forced apart

  1. to part or be parted from a mass or group

  2. (tr) to discriminate between: to separate the men from the boys

  3. to divide or be divided into component parts; sort or be sorted

  4. to sever or be severed

  5. (intr) (of a married couple) to cease living together by mutual agreement or after obtaining a decree of judicial separation

adjective(ˈsɛprɪt, ˈsɛpərɪt)
  1. existing or considered independently: a separate problem

  2. disunited or apart

  1. set apart from the main body or mass

  2. distinct, individual, or particular

  3. solitary or withdrawn

  4. (sometimes capital) designating or relating to a Church or similar institution that has ceased to have associations with an original parent organization

Origin of separate

C15: from Latin sēparāre, from sē- apart + parāre to obtain

Derived forms of separate

  • separately, adverb
  • separateness, noun

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