verb (used with object)

to separate (a part) from the whole, as by cutting or the like.
to divide into parts, especially forcibly; cleave.
to break off or dissolve (ties, relations, etc.).
Law. to divide into parts; disunite (an estate, titles of a statute, etc.).
to distinguish; discriminate between.

verb (used without object)

to become separated from each other; become divided into parts.

Origin of sever

1300–50; Middle English severen < Middle French sev(e)rer to separate
Related formshalf-sev·ered, adjectiveun·sev·ered, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sever

Contemporary Examples of sever

Historical Examples of sever

  • But so it was, and Jasper Lamotte's interdict was not strong enough to sever the intimacy.

    The Diamond Coterie

    Lawrence L. Lynch

  • Our companionship continued for some months, and then my friend and myself had to sever our connection.

    London's Underworld

    Thomas Holmes

  • He continued with us year after year until a new position in Cleveland, Ohio, compelled him to sever relations with Chautauqua.

    The Story of Chautauqua

    Jesse Lyman Hurlbut

  • The bleeding Amine tottered to her seat, and longed for the hour which was to sever her from a Christian world.

    The Phantom Ship

    Frederick Marryat

  • Sever the backbone at the joint, and then you have all the root of the tail, together with the oil-gland, dissected from the body.

British Dictionary definitions for sever



to put or be put apart; separate
to divide or be divided into parts
(tr) to break off or dissolve (a tie, relationship, etc)

Word Origin for sever

C14 severen, from Old French severer, from Latin sēparāre to separate
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 sever

c.1300, from Anglo-French severer, Old French sevrer "to separate" (12c., later in French restricted to "to wean," i.e. "to separare from the mother"), from Vulgar Latin *seperare, from Latin separare "to separate" (see separate (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper