Definition of separation in US English:



  • 1The action or state of moving or being moved apart.

    ‘the damage that might arise from the separation of parents and children’
    • ‘Since the testimony will spread by word of mouth, anyone who's ever played telephone knows it's going to get wilder and further from the truth with each degree of separation from the source.’
    • ‘With their abiding sense of separation from the rest of the Pacific, the Cook Islands have never been, and likely never will be, a mainstream Pacific destination.’
    • ‘The film taps into one of the most basic primal fears of childhood: separation from one's parents.’
    • ‘In the case of a guide dog that is affected, it can mean separation from their owner, having to be retrained, or in a small number of cases, withdrawn from working altogether.’
    • ‘The desert landscape is associated in the poetry with elopement, hardship, separation from lover or parents.’
    • ‘The album with 16 songs captures the torment, pain and frustration the prisoners undergo after separation from their loved ones.’
    • ‘The author is himself a sixth generation Scot with a Highland background that has not been dimmed by 200 years of separation from his homeland.’
    • ‘Youth is contained here and the women who fold away the knick-knacks of toddlers in their rooms display a sadness and sense of separation from the world they once inhabited.’
    • ‘There would then be over 50,000 such pieces; their average separation from one another on the ground would be over a mile.’
    • ‘But for others, adulthood marks the beginning of their freedom and separation from people who do not share their values.’
    • ‘The rebels have several times expressed their position, that they only will talk on the basis of separation from the Republic.’
    • ‘By mixing wet and dry beads in a tumbler, and developing a theory for interacting beads, they found the precise conditions that lead to mixing or separation.’
    • ‘He has no problem creating separation from defenders, but he runs undisciplined routes and rarely fights for the ball.’
    • ‘Of course, reinforcing the more stable regions could lead to permanent separation and new borders.’
    • ‘As more and more Quebecers come to realize that a ‘yes’ vote means separation from Canada, fewer and fewer seem interested.’
    • ‘The police also are under pressure to prove they can work effectively after their separation from the Indonesian Military.’
    • ‘Despite tremendous separation from the pro leagues, and lack of strong training resources and facilities, basketball trails only hockey in popularity.’
    • ‘The researchers speculated that separation from parents might hinder the chances of forming intimate relationships as an adult.’
    • ‘The central government later turned down the draft regulation as it was feared it would pave the way for the province's separation from Indonesia.’
    • ‘We endured the pain of separation from our loved ones, were frightened when the rockets came in to camp and lives were lost.’
    disconnection, detachment, severance, uncoupling, dissociation, disassociation, disjunction, disunion, disaffiliation, segregation
    break-up, split, split-up, parting, estrangement, parting of the ways, rift, rupture, breach
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The state in which a couple remain married but live apart.
      ‘legal grounds for divorce or separation’
      ‘she and her husband have agreed to a trial separation’
      • ‘The husband testified he owned no such assets at separation.’
      • ‘Five years would have passed since the parties' separation with no spousal support having been pursued on interim motions or paid.’
      • ‘I was asked to determine the value of the wife's pension and the husband's entitlement to a credit for payment of the wife's debt after separation.’
      • ‘Prior to the separation, the wife worked full time in the husband's family business.’
      • ‘He says that other than a few months separation back in 1972, they have remained together.’
      • ‘In such states, adultery remains a viable basis for divorce or separation.’
      • ‘The obligation for spousal support commenced upon separation in October 1999.’
      • ‘With respect to these two pensions, the first pension was fully vested at the time of separation and thus the respondent wife has fully realized on this asset.’
      • ‘Moreover, he had just completed the purchase of the new family house, which is not readily consistent with an extended trial separation.’
      • ‘In addition, the husband made voluntary payments to the wife following the separation of $600 per month.’
      • ‘Despite the problems that have been going on since separation, the parties have chosen to remain in the home together with the children while they tried to achieve a resolution.’
      • ‘She was back in the dream, the nightmare of her parent's separation.’
      • ‘There had been absolutely no possibility of any trial separation while we were here together in Asia, for housing reasons - it's even worse than Manhattan!’
      • ‘I am not persuaded that spousal support should be ordered retroactively to the date of separation as sought.’
      • ‘At the time of separation the wife had not worked outside the home for 17 years.’
      • ‘The parties lived very well before their separation with live-in help.’
      • ‘Following separation the plaintiff did not find it necessary to encroach upon her assets.’
      • ‘I think it reasonable to infer that the standard of living enjoyed by the plaintiff prior to separation was in part dependent on the greater income produced by the defendant.’
      • ‘When finally he got his separation from his wife and his property settlement, he decided to go in a different direction.’
      • ‘A father remains a father in separation, divorce or marriage and their responsibilities and rights cannot be taken away.’
      break-up, split, split-up, parting, estrangement, parting of the ways, rift, rupture, breach
      View synonyms
  • 2The division of something into constituent or distinct elements.

    ‘prose structured into short sentences with meaningful separation into paragraphs’
    • ‘Your five year plan is well prepared and your separation of the various parts of the town into divisions establishes manageable work programmes in each.’
    • ‘The separation of club and divisional teams in the County Championship was done and extra games were provided.’
    • ‘Elliott's thematic gear shifting and tempo changing make the album's separation into eight tracks largely beside the point.’
    • ‘The next important step in the evolution of Parliament was the separation into houses.’
    • ‘Here the separation into subsets is easy - how many ways can you partition a set of two items?’
    • ‘This genetic separation into two groups was also clear when working with the complete set of 306 plants.’
    • ‘This separation into stanzas is reinforced by differing dominant sounds.’
    • ‘The separation and division of the works into three spaces in some ways disturbed the continuity of the curatorial exercise.’
    • ‘This finding was the basis for separation into the 2 groups.’
    1. 2.1 The process of sorting and then extracting or removing a specified substance for use or rejection.
      • ‘A chemical separation method, leaching works mainly to isolate soluble materials from a solid mixture.’
      • ‘Lasers have also revolutionized the separation of chemical isotopes, which had otherwise been extremely difficult, if not impossible.’
      • ‘The most widely used method for separation of nucleic acids is precipitation with ethanol or other organic solvents.’
      • ‘The focus of this research is on separation and regeneration of the catalysts in order to decrease costs of production while increasing the purity of the product.’
      • ‘By this process, a highly efficient separation of substances can be achieved.’
      • ‘One of the factors that makes process engineers think twice before choosing homogeneous catalysis, however, is the problem of separation.’
      • ‘This processing may include distillation or other methods or separation or purification that may be necessary to be applied before they are of usable form.’
      • ‘Ultimately, such novel protein architectures could be designed to include functional elements useful in sensing, separation or other technological applications on the molecular scale.’
      • ‘His research in spectroscopy and chemical separation laid the groundwork for generations of analytical chemist.’
      • ‘Fluxing of the melt facilitates the agglomeration and separation of such undesirable constituents from the melt.’
      • ‘This meant that the ‘total synthesis’ would have produced a mixture of isomers requiring painstaking separation.’
      • ‘The window is kept clean by means of inert gas flow at the window flange, which also carries away the gaseous products through an outlet port at the cavity bottom into a quencher for zinc condensation and separation.’
      • ‘Blood is conveyed into the first compartment for centrifugal separation into components.’
      • ‘The foam is consequently difficult to handle, and protein separation by conventional chromatographic methods is only partially successful.’
      • ‘If any metal complexation route to produce ethylene is ever going to succeed commercially, olefin separation needs to compare favourably with cryogenics.’
      extraction, removal, detachment
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2 The process of distinguishing between two or more things.
      ‘religion involved the separation of the sacred and the profane’
      ‘the constitution imposed a clear separation between church and state’
      • ‘He describes the new reality as complex, with no separation into domestic and foreign concerns, and he no longer sees states as the sole threat.’
      • ‘A complete separation of religion from the state guarantees this freedom and protects children from manipulation by religions.’
      • ‘Whatever it is, don't run on church-state separation alone.’
      • ‘African spirituality at its best, on the other hand, finds no separation between the sacred and the secular.’
      • ‘There is no separation between the sacred and the profane, because there are no profane objects in this Universe.’
      • ‘A hallmark of these democracies has been the separation of religion and politics.’
      • ‘You're positively correct, there is no separation between what I do and who I am; I don't go home in the evening and take off my designer hat.’
      • ‘Essentially it means the separation of religion from some element of society, be that education, ethics or government.’
      • ‘He said there must be absolute separation between the decision-making process in planning and those who stood to gain from the decisions.’
      • ‘Tomorrow, the Supreme Court decides if school vouchers violate the constitutional separation of church and state.’
      • ‘It was found that the plaques violated the U.S. Constitution's precepts on separation of church and state.’
      • ‘To achieve real democracy, we need to enforce the separation of corporations and the state.’
      • ‘‘There's an ideal I aim for where there is no separation between work and pleasure,’ he says.’
      • ‘Yet despite public pressures, the strict church-state separation laid down by the Warren Court survived.’
      • ‘They also emphasize that there should be no separation between religion and the law.’
      • ‘Neither banishment of religion from the society nor a rigid wall of separation between religion and the State underlies the concept of secularism in India and elsewhere in the East.’
      distinction, difference, differentiation, division, dividing line
      View synonyms
  • 3Distinction or difference between the signals carried by the two channels of a stereophonic system.

    • ‘The Japanese stereo track features very good channel separation and some rather nice low-end action.’
    • ‘The audio fares much better, with occasionally muffled dialogue and moderate use of the left and right speakers, giving some appearance of channel separation.’
    • ‘The audio is presented in what appears to be Dolby Stereo, although there is next to no channel separation and the final result is indistinguishable from a mono track.’
    • ‘The few action sequences let viewers hear nice separation in the stereo channels.’
    • ‘Actually, while this is a nice mix it does display a few inconstancies in the way of dynamic range and channel separation.’
    • ‘Channel separation, frequency response, clarity were all excellent, with plenty of panning sounds front to rear and right to left, or both.’
    • ‘With crisp dialogue and nice separation among the available channels, many scenes begged for the richness of a true surround mix.’
    • ‘The stereo mix gives only a slightly more channel separation, but not by much.’
    • ‘Excellent imaging and detailed channel separation, along with the aforementioned stirring score gives this disc a memorable sound.’
    • ‘The original Japanese stereo audio has very good channel separation and a much wider soundstage than I had anticipated.’
    • ‘The rear surrounds are put to good use, although there is not clearly defined separation or distinction between the channels.’
    • ‘Sound wise, the Dolby Digital Stereo offers no real channel separation and the aural palette is so limited that there is no real chance at creating ambiance or atmosphere.’
    • ‘Your audio choice is a very nice Dolby Digital 2.0 Spanish mix, which has very good separation over the two channels and some nice bass.’
    • ‘It exhibits dated fidelity, there's very little channel separation, no bass activity, and the surrounds rarely come into play.’
    • ‘Dialogue is well presented with moderate use of channel separation.’
    • ‘The stereo sound is merely okay, with passable channel separation and fidelity, allowing you to enjoy bad voiceover acting at its finest.’
    • ‘Both the English stereo dub and the original Japanese stereo track are thin and pinched, with very little channel separation.’
    • ‘The stereo soundtracks predominantly come across more like two-channel mono; only in the music can any real channel separation be found.’
    • ‘Oddly enough, the Japanese stereo track is actually an improvement over that of the first volume, with better channel separation and more bass activity.’
    • ‘The packaging says it's mono, but somehow I doubt this because there is noticeable separation in the front channels.’
  • 4

    • ‘You may ask why I use CMYK separation rather than the more normal CMY.’
  • 5Physics Aeronautics
    The generation of a turbulent boundary layer between the surface of a body and a moving fluid, or between two fluids moving at different speeds.

    • ‘His work on separation of the boundary layer was summarised in the Von Neumann lecture he gave to the American Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics in 1980.’
    • ‘The optical measurement of surface separation is based on thin-film interferometry.’
    • ‘As scale decreases, viscous forces inhibit separation with the consequence that the additional lift must diminish and, at some unknown Re, disappear.’
    • ‘This is the first time that a fluid bilayer/fluid isotropic DAG phase separation within the bilayer is directly observed.’
    • ‘The same mechanism of unsteady vorticity injection appears to control separation and turbulence production.’


  • separation of powers

    • An act of vesting the legislative, executive, and judicial powers of government in separate bodies.

      • ‘When the constitution was written there was no question of strict separation of powers either in the Westminster system or in Australia.’
      • ‘It actually gave rise to and provided justification for the principle of separation of powers in the establishment of our republic.’
      • ‘That's why the president talked about the separation of powers.’
      • ‘The constitutionality of the legislation is suspect and potentially breaches the separation of powers.’
      • ‘Although there is no separation of powers, unlike the USA, the system only makes democratic sense if the legislature acts as a brake on the executive.’
      • ‘He said it also violates the government's separation of powers.’
      • ‘And getting the court involved in this to me was a great mistake, because it violates the separation of powers.’
      • ‘Voluntarily appearing in front of a congressional committee in public does not violate separation of powers.’
      • ‘The Australian Constitution, with its more rigorous separation of powers, prevents our common law changing in the same direction.’
      • ‘There can be nothing more activist than members of congress violating the separation of powers as they did this past week-end.’


Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin separatio(n-), from separare ‘disjoin, divide’ (see separate).