estrange

To estrange people may sound like adding wobbly antennae and an extra eyeball to their faces. Really, estrange means to push apart people who were once close to each other and cause them to be like strangers.

The verb estrange comes from the Old French estranger, "to treat like a stranger.” Estrange is often used when talking about family members who are no longer in contact with each other. You can also speak about wanting to estrange the neighbor’s dog from your flowerbed or a writer who estranges her readers by using too many big words. If you're looking for a synonym that is less “strange” but more “alien,” try alienate.

Definitions of estrange
  1. verb
    remove from customary environment or associations
    “years of boarding school estranged the child from her home”
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    type of:
    move out, remove, take out
    cause to leave
  2. verb
    arouse hostility or indifference in where there had formerly been love, affection, or friendliness
    synonyms: alien, alienate, disaffect
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    types:
    drift apart, drift away
    lose personal contact over time
    wean
    detach the affections of
    type of:
    alter, change, modify
    cause to change; make different; cause a transformation
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