Definition of section in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsɛkʃ(ə)n/


1Any of the more or less distinct parts into which something is or may be divided or from which it is made up: I unscrewed every section of copper pipe, from the roof tank to the hot-water cylinder
More example sentences
  • The collection is divided into four sections with each section arranged around a particular subject.
  • Part down the middle, then divide hair into sections, front to back.
  • Inside it was divided into two distinct sections.
segment, part, component, division, piece, portion, length, element, module, unit, constituent, bit, slice, fraction, fragment
1.1A relatively distinct part of a book, newspaper, statute, or other document: the New York Times business section this last section of the questionnaire relates solely to training
More example sentences
  • I mean, the odd thing is that Clinton devoted a large section of the book to his childhood.
  • The book is divided into three main sections covering background, methods, and applications.
  • Perhaps you could include a small section devoted to explaining the 100 most common acronyms.
subdivision, part, chapter, subsection, division, portion, component, bit, passage, clause, act, scene, episode, instalment
1.2North American A measure of land, equal to one square mile.
Example sentences
  • Here they talk about acres, but in West Texas we measure land in sections.
  • With the help of other concerned citizens, they eventually succeeded in gaining a permit to graze their flocks on 14 sections of Forest Service land.
1.3chiefly North American A particular district of a town: a residential section of the capital
More example sentences
  • I decided to walk through the Islamic section of town to Cairo's infamous bazaar and check it out for myself.
  • In large cities, such as Kano or Katsina, Hausa live either in the old sections of town or in newer quarters built for civil servants.
  • In the intervening three months, yet another airplane crashed, this time into a residential section of New York City.
1.4NZ A building plot.
Example sentences
  • And another project is clearing weeds off the section here, building steps and planting a veggie garden.
  • As post war building produced a demand for more sites, sections shrank even smaller.
2A distinct group within a larger body of people or things: the non-parliamentary section of the party
More example sentences
  • Last year Swinney, who has faced constant sniping about his leadership credentials from some sections within the party, faced down a challenge by Glasgow activist Bill Wilson.
  • This was the line pursued at the time by the body politic and large sections of the media to justify a knee-jerk reaction and savage state repression.
  • They accused some sections of that body of trying to frustrate the inquiry.
department, part, division, branch, sector, wing, compartment
2.1A group of players of a family of instruments within an orchestra: the brass section
More example sentences
  • The brass section of an orchestra typically consists of trumpets, horns, trombones, and tubas.
  • The only music to be heard was some of the brass section tuning up their instruments.
  • At that time, women in London could only play in the wind sections of the BBC Symphony and the English Chamber Orchestras.
2.2 [in names] A specified military unit: a GHQ Signals Section
More example sentences
  • In Bosnia, IO staff sections were formed in units below brigade.
  • It is our tank sections and infantry squads that invariably make contact with hostile forces, not companies or battalions.
  • Basson is still working for South Africa in its military's medical section.
2.3A subdivision of an army platoon.
Example sentences
  • Soldiers will be trained to deploy as individuals, sections or units.
  • Due to the nature of current combat operations in Iraq, our primary mounted maneuver unit is the section.
  • A unit of action may vary from a nine-man infantry section through to a 3500-person brigade.
2.4 Biology A secondary taxonomic category, especially a subgenus.
Example sentences
  • Each species is classified under a sub-genus, and a section.
  • At the subgeneric level, the classification of Valeriana in subgenera and sections is difficult.
  • Several genera that are at times segregated from Atriplex have been variously treated as subgenera or sections, or simply placed in synonymy with Atriplex.
3 [mass noun] The cutting of a solid by or along a plane.
3.1The shape resulting from cutting a solid along a plane: nails of round section
3.2 [count noun] A representation of the internal structure of something as if it has been cut through vertically or horizontally: a section of face, showing the position of the organs of speech
More example sentences
  • This technique involves mentally dividing the image in the viewfinder up into a grid of three horizontal and vertical sections.
  • The vector field represents a vertical section through a vortex ring.
3.3 [count noun] Surgery A separation by cutting.
Example sentences
  • Obviously, if you have to deliver via Caesarian section it will take longer for you to get back on your bike.
  • Once considered unthinkable, vaginal delivery after a previous caesarean section remains a safe option for many women.
  • The mother had an elective cesarean section in order to ensure proper management of the airway during delivery.
3.4 [count noun] Biology A thin slice of plant or animal tissue prepared for microscopic examination.
Example sentences
  • The animal from which the tissue sections are prepared is important.
  • Immunohistochemical studies were performed using formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue sections of the cyst wall.
  • Sets of transverse, serial thin sections were prepared to document growth and increase in detail.


[with object]
1Divide into sections: she began to section the grapefruit
More example sentences
  • The only way to tell a dolphin's age for definite is by sectioning a tooth, said Mr Whooley.
  • To prevent copying, DVDs are sectioned into blocks that are each encrypted using a content scrambling system.
  • The common room was a large circular room, with three-quarters of the walls being sectioned into small little box-shaped cubby holes where university students got their usual circulars, mail, etc. etc.
1.1 (section something off) Separate an area from a larger one: parts of the curved balcony had been sectioned off with wrought-iron grilles
More example sentences
  • These areas have been sectioned off because they are unsafe!
  • Isis could see that each area was sectioned off into little green or brown squares according to the owner's preference.
  • The gymnasium had one of those huge movable walls which they would use to section it off into smaller areas for classes.
1.2 Biology Cut (animal or plant tissue) into thin slices for microscopic examination: the specimens were embedded and serially sectioned
More example sentences
  • The brain of each rat was sectioned in the coronals plane into 2 mm thickness pieces using a plastic model of the rat brain.
  • The cartilage was sectioned into 2-mm full-thickness slices.
  • The paraffin-embedded specimen was serially sectioned until the full cross-sectional area of the specimen was believed to be exposed.
1.3 Surgery Divide by cutting: it is common veterinary practice to section the nerves to the hoof of a limping horse
More example sentences
  • Because of their predominantly vertical orientation, the basilar segmental bronchi of the right lower lobe are routinely sectioned transversely on CT.
  • On sectioning the liver, diffuse tan miliary lesions surrounded by dark red hemorrhagic tissue were seen.
  • If these foci are sectioned perfectly, diagnosis is not difficult because the parallel arrangement of the prongs is obvious.
2British Commit (someone) compulsorily to a psychiatric hospital in accordance with a section of a mental health act: should she be sectioned and forced back into hospital?
More example sentences
  • She was sectioned to a mental hospital in Marrakesh.
  • He was sectioned to Green Lane Hospital in 2002 although he escaped regularly and went home.
  • It is therefore highly unlikely that he will be abstinent from alcohol unless he was sectioned and in a locked environment.



Example sentences
  • If someone could prove categorically that he honestly believes this statement then he is quite clearly sectionable.
  • I noticed over my first few years that whenever MHA assessment indicated that the person in custody was 'sectionable' under the Act, they were diverted and the criminal offence was NFAd - No Further Action.
  • I attended a parenting course to enable me to reestablish boundaries and to undergo counselling since I was almost sectionable myself by that time.


Late Middle English (as a noun): from French section or Latin sectio(n-), from secare 'to cut'. The verb dates from the early 19th century.

  • insect from early 17th century:

    Insects have bodies that are divided into segments, and segments are the basic idea behind the word. Insect was formed in the 17th century from Latin animal insectum ‘segmented animal’, and originally referred to any small cold-blooded creature with a segmented body, for example, a spider, not just what we would call insects. The root word is secare ‘to cut’, which gave us dissect (late 16th century), section (Late Middle English), and segment (late 16th century).

Words that rhyme with section

abjection, affection, circumspection, collection, complexion, confection, connection, convection, correction, defection, deflection, dejection, detection, direction, ejection, election, genuflection, imperfection, infection, inflection, injection, inspection, insurrection, interconnection, interjection, intersection, introspection, lection, misdirection, objection, perfection, predilection, projection, protection, refection, reflection, rejection, resurrection, retrospection, selection, subjection, transection, vivisection

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: sec|tion

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