When two things that were together come apart, it's a separation, whether they're the two halves of your Oreo or a married couple splitting up.

If you leave your beloved cat to go to college, it's a separation — the two of you are parting ways, at least for a little while. The root is the Latin word separare, which means "to pull apart." A separation from someone you care about can be hard, but the trickiest thing about separation is remembering how to spell it. One common trick is to keep in mind that there's "a rat" in the middle of the word.

Primary Meanings of separation

the act of dividing or disconnecting
the social act of separating or parting company
Full Definitions of separation

n the act of dividing or disconnecting

the withdrawal of eleven southern states from the Union in 1860 which precipitated the American Civil War
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a forcible tearing or surgical separation of one body part from another
the act of removing from association
secession, withdrawal
formal separation from an alliance or federation
the termination or destruction of union
disconnection, disjunction
the act of breaking a connection
the act or process of dividing
detachment, disengagement
the act of releasing from an attachment or connection
the act of tearing
remotion, removal
the act of removing
division, partition, partitioning, sectionalisation, sectionalization, segmentation
the act of dividing or partitioning; separation by the creation of a boundary that divides or keeps apart
divergence, divergency
the act of moving away in different direction from a common point
the act of ceasing to participate in an activity
detribalisation, detribalization
the decline or termination of tribal organization
breakaway, breaking away
the act of breaking away or withdrawing from
the division into parcels
the act of cleaving or splitting
dividing into two equal parts
dividing into four equal parts
schism, split
division of a group into opposing factions
cut, cutting
the act of cutting something into parts
atomisation, atomization, fragmentation
separating something into fine particles
branching, fork, forking, ramification
the act of branching out or dividing into branches
dichotomisation, dichotomization
the act of dividing into two sharply different categories
quantisation, quantization
the act of dividing into quanta or expressing in terms of quantum theory
separation into portions
syllabication, syllabification
forming or dividing words into syllables
hyphenation, word division
division of a word especially at the end of a line on a page
the act of lacerating
rent, rip, split
the act of rending or ripping or splitting something
abscission, cutting off
the act of cutting something off
the act of withdrawing or removing something
the action of taking out something (especially using effort or force)
spontaneous removal or casting off of a body part (as the tail of a lizard or claw of a lobster) especially when the organism is injured or under attack
the removal of contaminants
the act of deleting something written or printed
baring, denudation, husking, stripping, uncovering
the removal of covering
removal of scars or tattoos by anesthetizing the skin surface and then sanding or scraping off some of the outer skin layer
dislodgement, dislodgment
forced removal from a position of advantage
elimination, riddance
the act of removing or getting rid of something
the act of removing an unknown mathematical quantity by combining equations
emptying, evacuation, voidance
the act of removing the contents of something
rinse, rinsing
the removal of soap with clean water in the final stage of washing
the act of subdividing; division of something previously divided
the division or partitioning of a cavity into parts by a septum
cut, cutting
the division of a deck of cards before dealing
disembowelment, evisceration
the act of removing the bowels or viscera; the act of cutting so as to cause the viscera to protrude
dividing an area into zones or sections reserved for different purposes such as residence and business and manufacturing etc
the act of removing floating material from the surface of a liquid
the act of taking out money or other capital
the act of withdrawing blood, tumors, etc.
Type of:
change of integrity
the act of changing the unity or wholeness of something

n coming apart

breakup, detachment
Great Schism
the period from 1378 to 1417 during which there were two papacies in the Roman Catholic Church, one in Rome and one in Avignon
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breach, break, falling out, rift, rupture, severance
a personal or social separation (as between opposing factions)
the occurrence of breaking
the formal separation of a church into two churches or the withdrawal of one group over doctrinal differences
a sudden breaking
Type of:
alteration, change, modification
an event that occurs when something passes from one state or phase to another

n the state of lacking unity

unification, union
the state of being joined or united or linked
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discreteness, distinctness, separateness, severalty
the state of being several and distinct
a state of separation between persons or groups
lack of connection or continuity
disconnectedness, disconnection, disjunction, disjuncture
state of being disconnected
the state of being unconnected in memory or imagination
the state or situation of being alone
purdah, solitude
a state of social isolation
loneliness, solitariness
the state of being alone in solitary isolation
enforced isolation of patients suffering from a contagious disease in order to prevent the spread of disease
detachment, insularism, insularity, insulation
the state of being isolated or detached
alienation, estrangement
separation resulting from hostility
anomie, anomy
personal state of isolation and anxiety resulting from a lack of social control and regulation
concealment, privacy, privateness, secrecy
the condition of being concealed or hidden
the capability of being separated
incoherence, incoherency
lack of cohesion or clarity or organization
Type of:
the way something is with respect to its main attributes

n the space where a division or parting occurs

“he hid in the separation between walls”
Type of:
an area reserved for some particular purpose

n sorting one thing from others

“the separation of wheat from chaff”
“the separation of mail by postal zones”
the separation of grain or seeds from the husks and straw
sifting, winnow, winnowing
the act of separating grain from chaff
Type of:
grouping by class or kind or size

n the distance between things

“fragile items require separation and cushioning”
the distance by which one thing clears another; the space between them
Type of:
the property created by the space between two objects or points

n the social act of separating or parting company

“the separation of church and state”
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divorce, divorcement
the legal dissolution of a marriage
the act of secluding yourself from others
closing off, isolation
the act of isolating something; setting something apart from others
segregation, sequestration
the act of segregating or sequestering
separationism, separatism
advocacy of a policy of strict separation of church and state
isolation to prevent the spread of infectious disease
retreating to the seclusion of your home (as for privacy or escape)
Type of:
group action
action taken by a group of people

n (law) the cessation of cohabitation of man and wife (either by mutual agreement or under a court order)

legal separation
Type of:
cessation, surcease
a stopping

n the termination of employment (by resignation or dismissal)

Type of:
final result, outcome, result, resultant, termination
something that results

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