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[sep-uh-rey-shuh n] /ˌsɛp əˈreɪ ʃən/
an act or instance of separating or the state of being separated.
a place, line, or point of parting.
a gap, hole, rent, or the like.
something that separates or divides.
  1. cessation of conjugal cohabitation, as by mutual consent.
  2. judicial separation.
Aerospace. the time or act of releasing a burned-out stage of a rocket or missile from the remainder.
Photography, separation negative.
Origin of separation
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English < Latin sēparātiōn- (stem of sēparātiō), equivalent to sēparāt(us) separate + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
nonseparation, noun
preseparation, noun
reseparation, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for separation
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • At last, when he was taken ill, she herself suggested a separation.

    The Story of Norway Hjalmar H. Boyesen
  • Kinship was lost by separation, and fire superseded it as a bond of association.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • His adventures since his separation from the party were soon related.

    California J. Tyrwhitt Brooks
  • The result of this separation was unsatisfactory to both parties.

    The Story of Red Feather Edward S. (Edward Sylvester) Ellis
  • The growing doctrine of the separation of Church and state accentuated the breach between political and religious history.

    The Rise of the Mediaeval Church Alexander Clarence Flick
British Dictionary definitions for separation


the act of separating or state of being separated
the place or line where a separation is made
a gap that separates
(family law) the cessation of cohabitation between a man and wife, either by mutual agreement or under a decree of a court Compare judicial separation, divorce
  1. the act of jettisoning a burnt-out stage of a multistage rocket
  2. the instant at which such a stage is jettisoned
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
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Word Origin and History for separation

c.1400, from Old French separacion (Modern French séparation), from Latin separationem (nominative separatio) noun of action from past participle stem of separare (see separate (v.)). Specific sense of "sundering of a married couple" is attested from c.1600. Sense in photography is from 1922. Separation of powers first recorded 1788, in "Federalist" (Hamilton), from French séparée de la puissance (Montesquieu, 1748). Separation anxiety first attested 1943.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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