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.

1300–50; Middle English severen < Middle French sev(e)rer to separate

half-severed, adjective
unsevered, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
sever (ˈsɛvə)
1.  to put or be put apart; separate
2.  to divide or be divided into parts
3.  (tr) to break off or dissolve (a tie, relationship, etc)
[C14 severen, from Old French severer, from Latin sēparāre to separate]

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

c.1300, from Anglo-Fr. severer, from O.Fr. sevrer "to separate," from V.L. *seperare, from L. separare "separate" (see separate).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
When sedatives injected into the dinosaur kick in, the razor jaws close down on the tongue and sever it in a spurt of dark blood.
Walking upright is certainly unusual, but it doesn't sever us from the animal kingdom.
Also, a medic using the device could drive shrapnel across a healthy artery and accidentally sever it, he says.
By measuring how far they had to drag the tip to sever the wire, they were able to estimate the wire's breadth.
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