[sep-er-uh-tist, -uh-rey-]


a person who separates, withdraws, or secedes, as from an established church.
an advocate of separation, especially ecclesiastical or political separation.


of, relating to, or designating separatism or separatists: separatist forces; separatist tendencies.

Origin of separatist

1600–10; separate (adj.) + -ist
Related formssep·a·ra·tism, nounan·ti·sep·a·ra·tist, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for separatism

Contemporary Examples of separatism

Historical Examples of separatism

  • Rhode Island, as a seat of separatism and heresy, was not invited and perhaps not even considered.

    The Fathers of New England

    Charles M. Andrews

  • But the inefficiency of separatism was plainly evident in the Air Force.

  • Separatism has even less virtue than any of the other isms, for it is the abstraction of a negation, the shadow of a shadow.

    Amiel's Journal

    Henri-Frdric Amiel

  • It is one of the glaring weaknesses of the policy of Free Imports that it actually puts a premium on separatism.

  • Unionism and order: Separatism and ordure—that is about the sum.

    Ireland as It Is

    Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)

British Dictionary definitions for separatism




  1. a person who advocates or practises secession from an organization or group
  2. (as modifier)a separatist movement
Derived Formsseparatism, nounseparatistic, adjective



(sometimes not capital) a person who advocates the secession of a province, esp Quebec, from Canada
Derived FormsSeparatism, 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

Word Origin and History for separatism

1620s, from separate + -ism. First used in a denominational religious sense; from 1866 in a political sense.


c.1600, from separate + -ist. First used in a denominational religious sense; of political separations from 1871.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper