sep·a·rate • adj. / ˈsep(ə)rit/ forming or viewed as a unit apart or by itself: this raises two separate issues | he regards the study of literature as quite separate from life. ∎ not joined or touching physically: hostels with separate quarters for men and women. ∎ different; distinct: melt the white and dark chocolate in separate bowls.• v. / ˈsepəˌrāt/ 1. [tr.] cause to move or be apart: police were trying to separate two rioting mobs they were separated by the war. ∎ form a distinction or boundary between (people, places, or things): only a footpath separated their garden from the shore six years separated the two brothers. ∎ [intr.] become detached or disconnected: the second stage of the rocket failed to separate. ∎ [intr.] leave another person's company: they separated at the corner, agreeing to meet within two hours. ∎ [intr.] stop living together as a couple: after her parents separated, she was brought up by her mother | [as adj.] (separated) her parents are separated. ∎ (often be separated) discharge or dismiss (someone) from service or employment: this year one million veterans will be separated from the service.2. divide or cause to divide into constituent or distinct elements: [intr.] the milk had separated into curds and whey | [tr.] separate the eggs and beat the yolks. ∎ [tr.] extract or remove for use or rejection: the skins are separated from the juice before fermentation | fig. we need to separate fact from speculation. ∎ [tr.] distinguish between; consider individually: we cannot separate his thinking from his activity. ∎ (of a factor or quality) distinguish (someone or something) from others: his position separates him from those who might share his interests. ∎ [tr.] (separate something off) make something form, or view something as, a unit apart or by itself: the organ loft separating off the choir.• n. (separates) things forming units by themselves, in particular: ∎ individual items of clothing, such as skirts, jackets, or pants, suitable for wearing in different combinations. ∎ the self-contained, freestanding components of a sound-reproduction system. ∎ portions into which a soil, sediment, etc., can be sorted according to particle size, mineral composition, or other criteria.PHRASES: go one's separate ways leave in a different direction from someone with whom one has just traveled or spent time. ∎ end a romantic, professional, or other relationship.separate but equal hist. racially segregated but ostensibly ensuring equal opportunities to all races.separate the men from the boyssee man.separate the sheep from the goats divide people or things into superior and inferior groups.separate the wheat from the chaffsee chaff1 .DERIVATIVES: sep·a·rate·ly adv.sep·a·rate·ness n.