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[suhn-der] /ˈsʌn dər/
verb (used with object)
to separate; part; divide; sever.
verb (used without object)
to become separated; part.
Origin of sunder
before 900; Middle English sundren, Old English sundrian; cognate with German sondern, Old Norse sundra; see sundry
Related forms
sunderable, adjective
sunderance, noun
sunderer, noun
unsundered, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for sunder
Historical Examples
  • Of all the evil angels of humanity, that one is the most cruel whose mission it is to sunder the loves of the household.

    The Fair God Lew Wallace
  • Could I not have riven his body in sunder and strewn it on the waves?

  • As in a swoon I lay, through which suddenly came the words: 'What God hath joined, man cannot sunder.'

    Wilfrid Cumbermede George MacDonald
  • We glare and fume and could gladly see them all maced in sunder with battle-axes.

    Pipefuls Christopher Morley
  • These, indeed, are the marks which sunder even the simplest civilization from barbarism.

    Ancient Town-Planning F. Haverfield
  • But you would not sunder so holy a bond as that of marriage, Hugh?

    Dawn Mrs. Harriet A. Adams
  • For “smite in sunder, or wound the heads;” some word answering to the Latin conquassare.

    Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • They say, Let us break their bands in sunder and cast away their cords.

  • Can he come between a couple and the altar, and sunder those that God and the priest make one?

  • It affirms that the great body of humanity is one, and that it is death to sunder it.

    Fifty Notable Years John G. Adams
British Dictionary definitions for sunder


to break or cause to break apart or in pieces
in sunder, into pieces; apart
Derived Forms
sunderable, adjective
sunderance, noun
sunderer, noun
Word Origin
Old English sundrian; related to Old Norse sundr asunder, Gothic sundrō apart, Old High German suntar, Latin sine without
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 sunder

Old English sundrian, from sundor "separately, apart," from Proto-Germanic *sunder (cf. Old Norse sundr, Old Frisian sunder, Old High German suntar "aside, apart"), from PIE root *sen(e)- denoting "separation" (cf. Sanskrit sanutar "far away," Avestan hanare "without," Greek ater "without," Latin sine "without," Old Church Slavonic svene "without," Old Irish sain "different"). Related: Sundered; sundering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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