To set or keep apart; disunite. To space apart; scatter: small farms that were separated one from another by miles of open land. To sort: separate mail by postal zones. To differentiate or discriminate between; distinguish: a researcher who separated the various ethnic components of the population sample. To remove from a mixture or combination; isolate. To part (a couple), often by decree: She was separated from her husband last year. To terminate a contractual relationship, as military service, with; discharge. To come apart. To withdraw: The state threatened to separate from the Union. To part company; disperse. To stop living together as spouses. To become divided into components or parts: Oil and water tend to separate. Set or kept apart; disunited: Libraries often have a separate section for reference books. Existing as an independent entity. Having undergone schism or estrangement from a parent body: Separate churches. Dissimilar from all others; distinct: "a policeman's way of being separate from you even when he was being nice\u201d ( John le Carr\u00e9). Not shared; individual: two people who held separate views on the issue. Archaic Withdrawn from others; solitary. A garment, such as a skirt, jacket, or pair of slacks, that may be purchased separately and worn in various combinations with other garments.