Definition of divide in English:



  • 1Separate or be separated into parts.

    [with object] ‘consumer magazines can be divided into a number of different categories’
    [no object] ‘the cell clusters began to divide rapidly’
    • ‘The property in Poplar Grove was divided into two separate homes.’
    • ‘The borough has been divided into five separate areas that will each have a dedicated team of workers to carry out a regular cleaning regime.’
    • ‘If the site is large, then it may be divided into smaller plots and each plot managed separately by different group of students.’
    • ‘New South Wales, the first colony, was subsequently divided into five separate colonies.’
    • ‘This combination of factors yielded 216 trials, which were randomized and divided into two separate blocks.’
    • ‘The glossary has been moved to the back of the manual and the index has been divided into separate sections for common and scientific plant names.’
    • ‘Since 1992, the secondary school curriculum has been divided into separate content areas.’
    • ‘However, they could not stay unified and have since divided into five separate church groups.’
    • ‘The agent states that the property would make a family home or could be divided into two separate apartments as there are entrances at both garden level and first floor level.’
    • ‘The work began in 1998 and was divided into three phases.’
    • ‘Participants were randomly divided into three groups of 16 participants.’
    • ‘You will note from the information sheet that organisations will be divided into two clusters for the selection process.’
    • ‘After World War II Berlin was divided into separate parts.’
    • ‘It has been divided into three separate races - the full marathon, half marathon and the celebrity run.’
    • ‘The 100 participants were randomly divided into two groups.’
    • ‘Once the embryo divided into eight cells, the cells were carefully separated, and DNA from each cell was inserted into fresh egg cells whose DNA had been removed.’
    • ‘The first floor accommodation, which originally comprised two rooms to the front and one to the back, has been divided into four separate units.’
    • ‘The boys divided into two groups, each group occupying a separate room.’
    • ‘As expected, the resulting fertilized eggs divided to form two cells.’
    • ‘According to the report, passenger and cargo transport should be divided into two separate companies.’
    diverge, separate, part, branch, branch off, fork, split, split in two, go in different directions, go separate ways
    classify, sort, sort out, categorize, order, group, pigeonhole, grade, rank
    split, cut up, cleave, carve up, slice up, chop up, split up
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    1. 1.1[with object]Separate (something) into portions and distribute a share to each of a number of people.
      ‘Jack divided up the rest of the cash’
      ‘the property was divided among his heirs’
      • ‘The players then take turns claiming territories one at a time until they are equally divided among the participants.’
      • ‘The grants, totalling 716336, will be divided amongst 17 different projects in the area and will include drainage works and surface dressing.’
      • ‘Missouri's 2 million or so households would get 22 acres apiece if all the land in the state were divided among them.’
      • ‘In the east, the land was divided among all the adult male family members.’
      • ‘Part was sent to corporate HQ as profit, the rest was divided among the directors.’
      • ‘Freeholdings are divided among their owners' male and female heirs.’
      • ‘When Augustine died of sudden illness in the spring of 1743, his lands were divided among his sons.’
      • ‘That money is divided among the 43 teams in each race according to finishing order.’
      • ‘The territory of the empire was divided among the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Greece.’
      • ‘The money is divided among departments such as Welfare, Water Affairs and Public Works, which are involved in job creation programmes and poverty relief.’
      • ‘The family holdings were divided among six sons in the 1920s, with the largest tracts going to the sons of Richard Skinner and Chester Skinner.’
      • ‘The city essentially got first pick, with the remains being divided among everyone else.’
      • ‘After attorneys' fees, any settlement or court award is divided among those participating in the suit.’
      • ‘Also it was our standard procedure with any game taken, half went to the shooter and the other half was divided among the rest of the hunters.’
      • ‘Properties and land are divided among the family when the homeowner dies without a will - a common occurrence in Japan.’
      • ‘The adults linger over coffee while the kids play, then the sausage is divided among the family members to take home and freeze for lasagna, pastas, and soups in the coming year.’
      • ‘Using Companies House and other data, and cross-checking with industry sources, we estimated how each firm's profits were divided among its partners.’
      • ‘The existing land was divided among five of the tribes.’
      • ‘Land is divided among the descendants after the death of the owner.’
      share out, allocate, allot, apportion, portion out, ration out, measure out, mete out, parcel out, deal out, dole out, hand out, distribute, dispense
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    2. 1.2[with object]Allocate (different parts of one's time, attention, or efforts) to different activities or places.
      ‘the last years of her life were divided between Bermuda and Paris’
      • ‘I divide my time at Student Health between nursing and working as one of the Health Education Coordinators.’
      • ‘His own life is divided between Los Angeles, where he works, and Hawaii.’
      • ‘I am in love with books and have to divide my day into house chores, time to write and time to read.’
      • ‘His activity from 1612 to 1632 was divided between Toledo, Murcia, and Valencia.’
      • ‘Nowadays I divide my time between L.A. and Berlin, Germany.’
    3. 1.3[with object]Form a boundary between (two people or things)
      ‘the artificial barrier that has divided an academic education from a vocational one’
      • ‘A double door divides the living room and dining room.’
      • ‘To the left of the great gate a wall divides off a corner of the court.’
      • ‘A border of low black wire fencing was put in to divide the garden from the sidewalk.’
      • ‘But they are a bit like those boundary streets which divide the ‘hot’ places to live from the not-so-hot.’
      separate, segregate, partition, detach, disconnect, screen off, section off, split off, demarcate, distinguish
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    4. 1.4(of a legislative assembly) separate or be separated into two groups for voting.
      [no object] ‘the House divided: 287 for, 196 against’
      • ‘I appeal to the Labor Party even now not to divide the Assembly on this issue.’
      • ‘When tellers have been nominated, the Speaker shall direct the Assembly to divide, ‘ayes’ to the right and ‘noes’ to the left.’
      • ‘The house divided as follows: Ayes: 127 Noes: 107 Abstentions: 73.’
      • ‘I can tell members that the committee divided clearly on party lines.’
      • ‘When the House divided to vote on the motion only half the MPs were present and the Abolition Bill was defeated.’
  • 2Disagree or cause to disagree.

    [with object] ‘the question had divided Frenchmen since the Revolution’
    ‘a divided party leadership’
    [no object] ‘cities where politicians frequently divide along racial lines’
    • ‘Experts remain divided over whether market manipulation, or power shortages, were the primary cause of California's spiking prices.’
    • ‘But I was rather startled by how people have become sharply divided along political lines, and the positions that have been assumed.’
    • ‘Public opinion in the United States remains divided.’
    • ‘Health experts are divided on the question of why the number of asthma cases is increasing.’
    • ‘But pub landlords and club managers in Manchester remain divided about the effect a 24-hour opening law will have.’
    • ‘And the City Council has always been divided on the question of McManus.’
    • ‘I figure that opinions of this one will be pretty much divided along partisan lines.’
    • ‘But experts remain divided as to whether we are in for a long period of stagnation while average earnings catch up or whether outright falls in house prices are needed to get back to their long-term trend.’
    • ‘However, road safety experts remain divided about the benefits of crash barriers over the presence of a wide unprotected central reservation.’
    • ‘We are no more divided than many political parties in the United States or in the West.’
    • ‘The experts, however, are divided on the issue.’
    • ‘He shows all the signs of arrogance over an issue which deeply divides our country.’
    • ‘Recent research, however, is divided on the issue.’
    • ‘There were some calls over the weekend that the president step up to the plate and take charge over an administration that seems to be rather divided over this issue.’
    • ‘The membership will be very divided on that issue.’
    • ‘Although the scientific community may be divided on other agricultural issues, the overuse of chemicals is probably not one of them.’
    • ‘The party is leaderless, divided and bankrupt - financially, if not politically.’
    • ‘Drawing from the views of a wide variety of people living and working in the district, it described a city living in the grip of fear, divided along racial, religious and class lines.’
    • ‘Previous efforts divided the country's artistic community and led to the angry departure from the country of at least two major theatrical talents.’
    • ‘However, controversy swirls as media ‘experts’ remain fiercely divided over the video.’
    divided, split, sectarian, schismatic, dissenting, contentious, discordant, conflicting, argumentative, disagreeing, disputatious, quarrelling, quarrelsome, clashing, warring, at variance, at loggerheads, at odds, disharmonious, tumultuous, turbulent, dissident, rebellious, insurrectionary, seditious, mutinous
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  • 3Mathematics
    [with object] Find how many times (a number) contains another.

    ‘36 divided by 2 equals 18’
    [no object] ‘the program helps children to multiply and divide quickly and accurately’
    • ‘Chris spotted that if he added 66 and 72 together, the total number divided by two would be 69.’
    • ‘Wouldn't it be nice if dividing fractions were as easy as dividing whole numbers?’
    • ‘The employment rate is simply the number employed divided by the size of the population.’
    • ‘The next problem is how to multiply and divide numbers involving fractions.’
    • ‘The object is to add, subtract, multiply or divide these numbers in order to achieve the value of 24.’
    1. 3.1[no object](of a number) be susceptible to division without a remainder.
      ‘30 does not divide by 8’
      • ‘Two of these numbers divide by 5 with no remainder.’
      • ‘What happens if the numbers do not divide exactly?’
      • ‘You check whether 15 divides by 2, and it doesn't.’
    2. 3.2Find how many times (a number) is contained in another.
      ‘divide 4 into 20’
      • ‘If you divide 2 into 13983816 you get 6991908 or exactly half.’
      • ‘If the hurricane was moving at 5 miles an hour and was expected to pass very close to your location, then divide 5 into 100. The answer is 20.’
      • ‘How do you divide 6 into 612?’
    3. 3.3[no object](of a number) be contained in a number without a remainder.
      ‘3 divides into 15’
      • ‘When dividing by the powers of the new base, it is important not to leave out any of the powers, even if the number does not divide into it.’
      • ‘5 divides into 10 evenly.’
      • ‘Which other numbers exactly divide into (are factors of) Fibonacci numbers?’


  • 1A wide divergence between two groups, typically producing tension or hostility.

    ‘there was still a profound cultural divide between the parties’
    • ‘Whether or not the north-south divide exists, it is perpetuated through the media.’
    • ‘All the important rivalries in Europe both antedated the ideological divide and crossed its boundaries.’
    • ‘Indeed, the merchant's political convictions straddled the divide in southern opinion.’
    • ‘During the two-hour service he stressed how the natural disaster took no account of political boundaries or religious divides.’
    • ‘Until today, the Coalition has coasted through this rift without rancour even though there's a huge divide between the two sides.’
    • ‘The key divide in Australian politics is now clear.’
    • ‘This is more an observation that a theory, but the divide between the pro-war and anti-war factions might be characterised by the likelihood of actually serving in combat.’
    • ‘He declared: ‘It is the age-old divide between right and left.’’
    • ‘Because of their agreement on so many first principles, the divide between anti-capitalist anarchists and the anarcho-capitalists is an interesting one.’
    • ‘The United States has a long history of political divides along ethnic lines.’
    • ‘Nowhere is this divide more evident than in the discussion over the economic progress of African Americans in the '90s.’
    • ‘But the prime minister has devoted more of his tour to EU diplomacy than to US, and impressively straddled what otherwise might be a damaging divide between the powers.’
    • ‘The big divide between them is over immigration.’
    • ‘The divide on the issue has emerged in the past year.’
    • ‘A society where the social divide between haves and have-nots has become a chasm is a society that breeds violence and brutality.’
    • ‘He said there was a cultural divide between those who came of age after 1989 and who are more open about saying what they feel, and those from an earlier, more repressed age.’
    • ‘The apparent refusal is being described by some American intelligence analysts as an indication of a significant divide between the groups.’
    • ‘Secondly, by encouraging a drinking culture in younger people, the divide between young and old only widens.’
    • ‘Monday's troubles have further exacerbated the sectarian divide.’
    • ‘The combined effects of disenfranchisement laws, inmate population trends and economic realities perpetuate a racial divide in society.’
    divergence, contrast, polarity, division, separation, difference, wide area of difference
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    1. 1.1A boundary between two things.
      ‘symbolically, the difference of sex is a divide’
      • ‘One of the things that I find annoying about the divide between ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ art is the blather of the traditionalists.’
      • ‘‘The Map Makers’ is all about the divide between love and hate.’
      • ‘What has gone missing is that this is also that rare American film that seamlessly breaches the divide between the political and the personal, the past and the present.’
      • ‘See it and see the work of the one Japanese director working today whose films are managing to cross continental divides.’
      • ‘The result is a collection of songs that shift like sands, with cyberpunk, strings, looped beats and urbane poetry blurring the divide between rock and the experimental.’
      • ‘For Williams, the divide between popular and elite art is the difference between art that makes people comfortable and art that shocks and makes you think.’
      • ‘The divide between the digital and tangible is blurring…’
      • ‘The rabbi explained that the purpose of the separating divide between men and women in the synagogue was to keep the men's thoughts on prayer.’
      • ‘If Rankin is to be believed, Edinburgh and Scotland are rife with violent crime, transformed when daylight fades and night falls, an easy divide between good and evil.’
      • ‘As it stands proudly at the entrance of the harbour, acting as a welcome to all ships, boats and seafarers returning to port, the tower forms an unconscious divide between Portsmouth now and then.’
      • ‘These two books represent a common assessment of the deep divide between religion and the world of business but differ somewhat on the solutions they propose.’
      • ‘He was a political editor and later head of news at BBC Northern Ireland before crossing the divide between those who report the news and those who help to shape the Government's message.’
      • ‘But there's a big divide between acting on stage and acting on film.’
      • ‘He plays huge venues like he used to play living rooms; discarding the divide between performer and audience, walking onto the stage as naturally as he crosses the bar for a beer.’
      • ‘The appearance is dramatic and bold, straddling the divide between classic and modern.’
      • ‘Sex and religion are a constant theme in her lyrics, while her highly charged live performances straddle the divide between divine possession and lustful abandonment.’
      • ‘Computer skills are becoming as essential as basic literacy for anyone entering the workforce and the divide between the techno-literate and illiterate will be just as pronounced.’
      • ‘Sorting out the divide between academic and vocational subjects, and ending the snobbery towards technical training features in all three parties' education manifestos.’
      • ‘Albums were ‘serious’, singles were ‘for kids’, and the divide between the two had never been greater.’
      • ‘The Holy Girl exposes the divide between spirituality and sexuality as inherently false and destructive.’
      breach, gulf, gap, split, divergence, differentiation
      borderline, boundary, dividing line
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    2. 1.2US A ridge or line of high ground forming the division between two valleys or river systems.
      • ‘The Blue Nile and White Nile tributaries share a drainage divide with the Omo River.’
      • ‘If you want to change valleys, then you climb the mountainous divides.’
      • ‘The rivers on the eastern side of the divide empty into Hudson's Bay, while the westerly rivers flow to the Pacific.’
      • ‘The river meets a divide, and darkness spreads in four directions.’
      • ‘The highway then passed through two river valleys before again crossing the divide, which zigzags through the territory.’
      • ‘Other pumps push/pull water as high as 2,000 feet in pipes crossing mountain divides.’
      • ‘To the officials and the sheep men of Sydney, the rivers which flowed inland from the western slopes of the divide were rivers filled with much promise.’
      • ‘This project includes the provision of a new source for the abstraction of water from the River Mahon, at the tidal divide near Ballylaneen.’
      • ‘The ridge is a lone ridge, right on the divide, and it drops directly to the desert floor.’


  • divide and conquer (or rule)

    • The policy of maintaining control over one's subordinates or subjects by encouraging dissent between them.

      • ‘There are those in the British ruling classes who wish to maintain their power and privilege by using the age-old tactic of divide and rule.’
      • ‘A key way occupying powers keep control in such circumstances is by divide and rule.’
      • ‘He is someone who has always governed on the basis of divide and rule.’
      • ‘As a result of early colonial policies of divide and conquer, the regional governments tended to be drawn along ethnic lines.’
      • ‘Our opposition has a platform that can be equated to divide and conquer - at all costs, keep people apart, unwilling to learn from one another.’
      • ‘Once again, the administration strategy appears to be divide and conquer.’
      • ‘The partition plan flowed from Britain's policy of divide and rule.’
      • ‘Ethnic and tribal struggles among the seven million residents have been exploited by those pursuing tactics of divide and rule, inciting one group against the other, observers say.’
      • ‘It was playing the old bosses' game of divide and rule to prevent workers' full power being unleashed.’
      • ‘They understand the concept of divide and conquer.’
  • divided against itself

    • (of a group that should be coherent) split by factional interests.

      ‘the regime is profoundly divided against itself’
      • ‘But what chance does the church have to convince educators and politicians, when the church is divided against itself?’
      • ‘Europe, viciously divided against itself for centuries, has knit together into a democratic and civil society.’
      • ‘It explains through the use of real people, in their own written words, what it was like to live in a country divided against itself.’
      • ‘Political and economic instability relentlessly stalked Europe in the first half of the twentieth century, and it was divided against itself in a bitter ideological battle for much of the second half.’
      • ‘If this Party is to continue to win elections in North Carolina, it cannot be divided against itself.’


Middle English (as a verb): from Latin dividere force apart, remove The noun dates from the mid 17th century.