Definition of schism in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈs(k)izəm/


1A split or division between strongly opposed sections or parties, caused by differences in opinion or belief.
Example sentences
  • He entered federal parliament in 1928 and was defeated at the end of 1931 as the Australian Labor Party succumbed in NSW to a schism between the federal party and the supporters of J. T. Lang.
  • A dangerous schism in the Russian party developed with the emergence of the view known as Economism.
  • The author outlines both the commonalities that define science fiction fandom and the tensions and schisms within the community, focusing on participants in organized clubs, amateur publications, and conventions.
division, split, rift, breach, rupture, break, separation, severance;
chasm, gulf;
discord, disagreement, dissension
1.1The formal separation of a church into two churches or the secession of a group owing to doctrinal and other differences. See also Great Schism.
Example sentences
  • The centralization of the Catholic Church following the schisms of the 14th century changed how builders and patrons approached the construction and layout of churches, monasteries, and chapels.
  • Such controversy, he told The Advocate, is no longer likely to lead to a church schism.
  • It is only in recent years that the dialogue between the two Churches to heal the schism has been effectively re-opened.


Late Middle English: from Old French scisme, via ecclesiastical Latin from Greek skhisma 'cleft', from skhizein 'to split'.

  • This goes back to Greek skhisma ‘cleft’ from skhizein ‘to split’. This is also the origin of schizophrenia (early 20th century) combining skhizein with phren ‘mind’, and of the rock called schist (late 18th century) which splits easily into layers.

Words that rhyme with schism

abysm, arrivisme, chrism, chrisom, ism, prism

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: schism

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