apart - definition and synonyms

adjective, adverb 

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Apart can be used in the following ways:
as an adverb: We had to take the engine apart.
after the verb ‘to be’: I’m never happy when we’re apart.
as an adjective (only after a noun): Madagascar is a world apart.
in the preposition phrase apart from: Everyone was there apart from Ann and Gayle.
  1. 1
    if two people or things are apart, there is a space between them

    Stand with your feet apart.

    1. a.
      used for saying how far away from each other people or things are

      Their two farms are about a mile apart.

      Plant the seeds 25 cm apart.

    2. b.
      used for saying that one person or group is some distance away from the others

      The man was alone, sitting apart, watching people come and go.

      apart from:

      I saw Theresa at the graveside, standing apart from the rest of the family.

  2. 2
    used for saying how much time there is between events

    The two brothers were born six years apart.

    Two surveys carried out 30 years apart show little change in attitudes to childcare.

  3. 3
    broken or divided into many different parts or pieces
    tear/rip/pull something apart:

    The explosion tore the plane apart.

    take something apart:

    If the problem is in the printer, we’ll have to take the whole thing apart.

    fall/come apart:

    The book came apart in my hands.

  4. 4
    [never before noun] without considering or including someone or something in a judgment

    Bribery apart, there is almost no method of persuasion that is not allowed.

  5. 5
    if you pull two things or people apart, you separate them

    We managed to drag the two men apart before they could harm each other.

    1. a.
      if two people are apart, they are not in the same place together

      Aitken and his wife have been living apart.

      We hate being apart, but Gary emails me every day.

  6. 6
    if two people, opinions, or ways of living are far apart, they are very different

    Galbraith’s views and my own are not far apart on the issue of free trade.

    When the talks ended, the two sides seemed as far apart as ever.

    be poles apart/be worlds apart (=be very different):

    Politically, Gorbachev and Thatcher were poles apart, but they became friends.

    1. a.
      different from all the other people or things

      The Swiss economy is a case apart, unlike any other.

      set someone apart (=make someone different from others):

      His style sets him apart from other writers.

    See also tell
  7. 7
    used for saying that an organization, country, or relationship is in a very bad state and is failing to stay together
    fall apart:

    Costello lost his job, and soon afterwards his marriage fell apart.

    come apart:

    The Health Service is coming apart, and only a large investment of cash can save it.

    tear something apart (=destroy an organization, country etc):

    Yugoslavia was being torn apart by ethnic conflicts.