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separate - definition and synonyms


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verb     separate pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
present tense
present participleseparating
past tenseseparated
past participleseparated
  1. 1
    [transitive] to keep people or things apart from each other

    The army was called in to help separate the warring factions.

    separate someone from someone:

    The child may be separated from his mother while she receives treatment.

    1. a.
      [intransitive] to move apart and stop being connected to something
      separate from:

      As he pulled, the pipe separated from the wall and broke.

  2. 2
    [transitive] if something separates two people or things, it exists between them so that they are kept apart
    separate something from something:

    A large river separates the north of the city from the south.

    be separated by something:

    Their garden is separated from the factory by a tall fence.

    They are separated by thousands of miles.

  3. 3



    separate out

    [intransitive/transitive] to divide something, or become divided, into different parts

    The two issues need to be separated to discuss them fairly.

  4. 4
    [intransitive] to stop living with your husband, wife, or sexual partner

    Millie’s parents separated when she was three.

  5. 5



    separate out

    [transitive] to be the quality or detail that makes someone or something different from others
    separate someone/something from someone/something:

    This political skill separates him from other ultra-conservative politicians.

    1. a.
      to be the difference between the winner and the others in a competition

      Only three points separated the top two teams.

phrasal verbs

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a description of an economic or political situation based on analysis of information at the present time

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an unregulated form of capitalism that features financial deregulation, privatisation and low tax for high earners

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