Definition of divorce in English:

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Pronunciation: /dɪˈvɔːs/


1The legal dissolution of a marriage by a court or other competent body: her divorce from her first husband [mass noun]: one in three marriages ends in divorce
More example sentences
  • In cases when officials ask for a divorce, will the supervisory departments ignore the Marriage Law and interfere?
  • When we deal with divorces, our closing advice is always: ‘In the future, if you remarry, you should continue a prenup.’
  • He has had two gossip-fest divorces and an awkward bankruptcy.
dissolution, annulment, official separation, judicial separation, separation, disunion, break-up, split, split-up, severance, rupture, breach, parting;
in Islamic law khula, talaq
1.1A legal decree dissolving a marriage: my divorce comes through in two weeks
More example sentences
  • In 1992 she and Charles became formally separated and their divorce was decreed in 1996.
  • Unilateral divorce dissolves not only marriage but private life.
  • It was decreed that after her divorce Diana, too, was no longer HRH.
1.2 [in singular] A separation between things which were or ought to be connected: a divorce between ownership and control in the typical large company
More example sentences
  • Why can't there be a velvet divorce between the regions, a la Czechoslovakia?
  • It was the fateful divorce between the sacred and the secular.
  • This is because of the divorce between religion and spirituality.
separation, division, severance, split, partition, disunity, disunion, distance, estrangement, alienation;
variance, difference, schism, gulf, chasm


[with object]
1Legally dissolve one’s marriage with (someone): she divorced him in 1965 [no object]: they divorced eight years later
More example sentences
  • If a man repeats three times to his wife, ‘I divorce you,’ the couple is considered divorced.
  • He was also under personal pressure as his wife wanted to divorce him.
  • My wife is divorcing me, so that's February and March ruined.
split up (with), end one's marriage (to), get a divorce (from), separate (from), part (from), split (from), break up (with), part company (with), dissolve one's marriage (to), annul one's marriage (to);
British informal bust up (with)
1.1Separate or dissociate (something) from something else, typically with an undesirable effect: religion cannot be divorced from morality
More example sentences
  • But this increased security awareness is in large measure being divorced from politics.
  • It also defies belief that the Law proposes that rents are divorced from the ability to pay.
  • But the plot was largely divorced from character development or historical context.
separate, disconnect, divide, disunite, sever, disjoin, split, dissociate, detach, isolate, alienate, set apart, keep apart, cut off
archaic sunder
rare dissever
1.2 (divorce oneself from) Dissociate oneself from (something): a desire to divorce myself from history
More example sentences
  • That's something you have to divorce yourself from.
  • ‘The problem is if you divorce yourself from how much fun it is to read that comic, it isn't really a movie,’ he said.
  • I don't want to divorce myself from that but I was in Glasgow.



Pronunciation: /dɪˈvɔːsm(ə)nt/
Example sentences
  • Once they have reached an agreement on rearing any children, property, debts and so on, they can get the bill of divorcement on the same day.
  • Your life is married to the political beyond the possibility of divorcement.
  • The campaigners sought the divorcement of studios from their theatre chains, and in 1948 their wish was granted.


Late Middle English: the noun from Old French divorce, from Latin divortium, based on divertere (see divert); the verb from Old French divorcer, from late Latin divortiare, from divortium.

  • In early times divorce covered many ways of ending a marriage: one spouse could simply leave or send the other away; the marriage could be annulled, declared invalid from the beginning (as in the divorce of Henry VIII from Catherine of Aragon); or the couple could formally enter into a legal separation. The word itself is recorded from the late Middle Ages and came from Latin divortium, based on divertere ‘to turn in separate ways’. A divorced person has been a divorcee since the early 19th century. The term came from French, and at first usually appeared in its French forms, divorcée for a woman and divorcé for a man.

Words that rhyme with divorce

coarse, corse, course, endorse (US indorse), enforce, force, gorse, hoarse, horse, morse, Norse, perforce, reinforce, sauce, source, torse

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: di|vorce

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