Date: 1400-1500
Language: Latin
Origin: , past participle of separare, from se- 'apart' + parare 'to prepare, get'


2 verb
sep‧a‧rate2 S2 W2

be between

[transitive] if something separates two places or two things, it is between them so that they are not touching each other
separate something from something
The lighthouse is separated from the land by a wide channel.


[intransitive and transitive] to divide or split into different parts, or to make something do this:
This will keep your dressing from separating.
separate from
At this point the satellite separates from its launcher.
separate something into something
Separate the students into four groups.
First, separate the eggs (=divide the white part from the yellow part).

stop living together

[intransitive]SSF if two people who are married or have been living together separate, they start to live apart:
Jill and John separated a year ago.

recognize difference

[transitive] to recognize that one thing or idea is different from another
separate something from something
She finds it difficult to separate fact from fantasy.

move apart

[intransitive and transitive] if people separate, or if someone or something separates them, they move apart:
Ed stepped in to separate the two dogs.
separate somebody from somebody/something
In the fog, they got separated from the group.

make somebody/something different

[transitive] to be the quality or fact that makes someone or something different from other people or things
separate something from something
The capacity to think separates humans from animals.


[transitive] if an amount separates two things, one thing is better or older than the other by that amount:
Three points now separate the two teams.

separate the men from the boys

informal to show clearly which people are brave, strong, or skilled, and which are not

separate the sheep from the goats

British English also separate the wheat from the chaff to separate the good things from the bad things

separate somebody/something ↔ out

phrasal verb
1 to divide a group of people or things into smaller groups:
We must separate out these different factors and examine each one.
2 to remove one type of thing or person from a group
separate somebody/something ↔ out from
Many older people may prefer not to be separated out from the rest of the adult population.

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