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[sev-er-uh ns, sev-ruh ns] /ˈsɛv ər əns, ˈsɛv rəns/
the act of severing or the state of being severed.
a breaking off, as of a friendship.
Law. a division into parts, as of liabilities or provisions; removal of a part from the whole.
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English severaunce < Anglo-French; see sever, -ance
Related forms
nonseverance, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for severance
  • As required by his contract, he will also receive a year's salary as a severance payment.
  • Yet golden parachutes and severance pay are only one part of executive compensation.
  • But by the end of the day, he had been forced to resign with no severance package.
  • Macy's said affected sales employees would be offered other positions or a severance package.
  • My suggestion is that you use this time to prepare to try to negotiate the best severance package you can.
  • Firing is expensive, because of compulsory severance payments.
  • And then he handed out personalized envelopes, explaining what everyone's severance pay would be.
  • He added that the company did not view the severance agreements as valid.
  • Board members think benefits, perquisites, retirement packages and severance packages should be reduced.
  • At the peak, incomes included those who were collecting severance.
British Dictionary definitions for severance


the act of severing or state of being severed
a separation
(law) the division into separate parts of a joint estate, contract, etc
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 severance

early 15c., from Anglo-French, from Old French sevrance "separation, parting," from sevrer (see sever). Meaning "discharge from employment contract" is attested from 1941. Severance pay attested by 1942.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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