These verbs mean to become or cause to become parted, disconnected, or disunited.
- Separate applies both to putting apart and to keeping apart:
… "In the darkness and confusion, the bands of these commanders became separated from each other" (Washington Irving).
- Divide implies separation by or as if by cutting or splitting into parts or shares; the term often refers to separation into opposing or hostile groups:
… We divided the orange into segments.
… "'A house divided against itself cannot stand.' I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free" (Abraham Lincoln).
- Part refers most often to the separation of closely associated persons or things:
… "Because ... nothing that God or Satan could inflict would have parted us" (Emily Brontë).
- Sever usually implies abruptness and force:
… "His head was nearly severed from his body" (H.G. Wells).
- Sunder stresses violent tearing or wrenching apart:
… The country was sundered by civil war.
- Divorce implies complete separation:
… "a priest and a soldier, two classes of men circumstantially divorced from the kind and homely ties of life" (Robert Louis Stevenson).