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

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

schismless, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
schism (ˈskɪzəm, ˈsɪz-)
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
[C14: from Church Latin schisma, from Greek skhisma a cleft, from skhizein to split]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

late 14c., scisme, "dissention within the church," from O.Fr. cisme "a cleft, split," from L.L. schisma, from Gk. skhisma (gen. skhismatos) "division, cleft," 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. Related: Schismatic (n.; late 14c.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
schism [(siz-uhm, skiz-uhm)]

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

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Bible Dictionary

Schism definition

a separation, an alienation causing divisions among Christians, who ought to be united (1 Cor. 12:25).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Encyclopedia Britannica


in Christianity, a break in the unity of the church

Learn more about schism with a free trial on

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The doctoral shortage reveals a schism in the field of teacher education that
  needs some work to repair.
Talk of colossal corruption and of rivalries between senior princes fuelled
  fears of schism inside the ruling family.
Then you see that imprinted early in our history were yeoman traditions with
  religious schism accepted rather than repressed.
He says that there should be no schism in the body but that the members should
  have the same care one to another.
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