American English

Definition of separate verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they separate
    he / she / it separates
    past simple separated
    -ing form separating
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  1. 1[intransitive, transitive] to divide into different parts or groups; to divide things into different parts or groups Stir the sauce constantly so that it does not separate. separate something Separate the eggs (= separate the yolk from the white). separate something from/and something It is impossible to separate belief from emotion. separate something into something Make a list of points and separate them into “desirable” and “essential.”
  2. 2[intransitive, transitive] to move apart; to make people or things move apart South America and Africa separated 200 million years ago. separate from something South America separated from Africa 200 million years ago. separate into something We separated into several different search parties. separate somebody/something Police tried to separate the two men who were fighting. The war separated many families. separate somebody/something from/and somebody/something Those suffering from infectious diseases were separated from the other patients.
  3. 3[transitive] to be between two people, areas, countries, etc. so that they are not touching or connected separate somebody/something A thousand miles separates the two cities. separate somebody/something from/and somebody A high wall separated our back yard from the baseball diamond.
  4. 4[intransitive] to stop living together as a couple with your husband, wife, or partner They separated last year. separate from somebody He separated from his wife after 20 years of marriage. Topic CollocationsMarriage and Divorceromance fall/be (madly/deeply/hopelessly)in love (with somebody) be/believe in/fall in love at first sight be/find true love/the love of your life suffer (from) (the pains/pangs of) unrequited love have/feel/show/express great/deep/genuine affection for somebody/something meet/marry your husband/wife/partner/fiancé/fiancée/boyfriend/girlfriend have/go on a (blind)date be going out with/dating a guy/girl/boy/man/woman move in with/live with your boyfriend/girlfriendweddings get/be engaged/married/divorced arrange/plan a wedding have a big wedding/a honeymoon/a happy marriage have/enter into an arranged marriage call off/cancel/postpone your wedding invite somebody to/go to/attend a wedding/a wedding ceremony/a wedding reception conduct/perform a wedding ceremony exchange rings/wedding vows/marriage vows congratulate/toast/raise a glass to the happy couple be/go on your honeymoon (with your wife/husband) celebrate your first (wedding) anniversaryseparation and divorce be unfaithful to/ (informal) cheat on your husband/wife/partner/fiancé/fiancée/boyfriend/girlfriend have an affair (with somebody) break off/end an engagement/a relationship break up with/ (informal) dump your boyfriend/girlfriend separate from/be separated from/leave/divorce your husband/wife annul/dissolve a marriage file for/ask for/go through/get a divorce get/gain/be awarded/have/lose custody of the children pay alimony/child support (to your ex-wife/husband)
  5. 5[transitive] separate somebody/something (from somebody/something) to make someone or something different in some way from someone or something else synonym divide Politics is the only thing that separates us (= that we disagree about). Her lack of religious faith separated her from the rest of her family. The judges found it impossible to separate the two contestants (= they gave them equal scores). Only four points separate the top three teams.
  6. Word Familyseparate adjectiveseparately adverbseparable adjective (inseparable)separate verbseparated adjectiveseparation nounseparate adjectiveseparately adverbseparable adjective (inseparable)separate verbseparated adjectiveseparation nounIdioms
    separate the men from the boys
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    to show or prove who is brave, skillful, etc. and who is not
    sort out/separate the wheat from the chaff
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    to distinguish useful or valuable people or things from ones that are not useful or have no value We sifted through the application forms to separate the wheat from the chaff.
    Phrasal Verbsseparate out
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: separate