What does divorce mean?

Definitions for divorce
dɪˈvɔrs, -ˈvoʊrsdi·vorce

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word divorce.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. divorce, divorcementverb

    the legal dissolution of a marriage

  2. disassociate, dissociate, divorce, disunite, disjointverb

    part; cease or break association with

    "She disassociated herself from the organization when she found out the identity of the president"

  3. divorce, split upverb

    get a divorce; formally terminate a marriage

    "The couple divorced after only 6 months"


  1. divorcenoun

    The legal dissolution of a marriage.

    Richard obtained a divorce from his wife some years ago, but hasn't returned to the dating scene.

  2. divorcenoun

    A separation of connected things.

    The Civil War split between Virginia and West Virginia was a divorce based along cultural and economic, as well as geographic, lines.

  3. divorceverb

    To legally dissolve a marriage between two people.

    A ship captain can marry couples, but cannot divorce them.

  4. divorceverb

    To end one's own marriage in this way.

    Lucy divorced Steve when she discovered that he had been unfaithful.

  5. divorceverb

    To separate something that was connected.

    The radical group voted to divorce itself from the main faction and start an independent movement.

  6. divorceverb

    To obtain a legal divorce.

    Edna and Simon divorced last year; he got the house, and she retained the business.

  7. divorcénoun

    A divorced man.

  8. Etymology: From divorce, from divortium, from divertere, from di- + vertere; see verse.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. DIVORCEnoun

    The legal separation of husband and wife.

    Etymology: divorce, Fr. from divortium, Latin.

    Divorce is a lawful separation of husband and wife, made before a competent judge, on due cognizance had of the cause, and sufficient proof made thereof. John Ayliffe, Parergon.

    To restore the king,
    He counsels a divorce, a loss of her,
    That like a jewel has hung twenty years
    About his neck, yet never lost her lustre. William Shakespeare, Hen. VIII.

    He had in his eye the divorce which had passed betwixt the emperor and Scribonia. John Dryden, Æn. Dedicat. to the.

    Such motions may occasion a farther alienation of mind, and divorce of affections in her, from my religion. Charles I .

    These things, to be a bastard, and to be born out of lawful wedlock, are convertible the one with the other; and ’tis hard to make divorce between those things that are so near in nature to each other, as being convertible terms. John Ayliffe, Par.

    Go with me, like good angels, to my end;
    And as the long divorce of steel falls on me,
    Make of your prayers one sweet sacrifice,
    And lift my soul to heav’n. William Shakespeare, Henry VIII.

  2. To Divorceverb

    Etymology: from the noun.

    Were it consonant unto reason to divorce these two sentences, the former of which doth shew how the latter is restrained, and not marking the former, to conclude by the latter of them? Richard Hooker, b. ii. s. 5.

    The continent and the island were continued together, within mens remembrance, by a draw-bridge; but is now divorced by the downfallen cliffs. Richard Carew, Survey of Cornwal.

    So seem’d her youthful soul not eas’ly forc’d,
    Or from so fair, so sweet a seat divorc’d. Edmund Waller.

    If thou wer’t not glad,
    I would divorce me from thy mother’s tomb,
    Sepulch’ring an adultress. William Shakespeare, King Lear.

    If so be it were possible, that all other ornaments of mind might be had in their full perfection, nevertheless the mind, that should possess them divorced from piety, could be but a spectacle of commiseration. Richard Hooker.

    I dare not make myself so guilty,
    To give up willingly that noble title
    Your master wed me to: nothing but death
    Shall e’er divorce my dignities. William Shakespeare, Henry VIII.


  1. Divorce

    Divorce (also known as dissolution of marriage) is the process of terminating a marriage or marital union. Divorce usually entails the canceling or reorganizing of the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage, thus dissolving the bonds of matrimony between a married couple under the rule of law of the particular country or state. Divorce laws vary considerably around the world, but in most countries, divorce requires the sanction of a court or other authority in a legal process, which may involve issues of distribution of property, child custody, alimony (spousal support), child visitation / access, parenting time, child support, and division of debt. In most countries, monogamy is required by law, so divorce allows each former partner to marry another person. Divorce is different from annulment, which declares the marriage null and void, with legal separation or de jure separation (a legal process by which a married couple may formalize a de facto separation while remaining legally married) or with de facto separation (a process where the spouses informally stop cohabiting). Reasons for divorce vary, from sexual incompatibility or lack of independence for one or both spouses to a personality clash or infidelity.The only countries that do not allow divorce are the Philippines and the Vatican City. In the Philippines, divorce for non-Muslim Filipinos is not legal unless the husband or wife is an undocumented immigrant and satisfies certain conditions. The Vatican City is a state ruled by the head of the Catholic Church, a religion that does not allow for divorce. Countries that have relatively recently legalized divorce are Italy (1970), Portugal (1975, although from 1910 to 1940 it was possible both for the civil and religious marriage), Brazil (1977), Spain (1981), Argentina (1987), Paraguay (1991), Colombia (1991; from 1976 was allowed only for non-Catholics), Andorra (1995), Ireland (1996), Chile (2004) and Malta (2011).


  1. divorce

    Divorce is the legal termination of a marriage by a court or other competent body. It involves the dissolution of marital bonds, as well as division of marital assets, and, if applicable, arrangements for child custody and support.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Divorcenoun

    a legal dissolution of the marriage contract by a court or other body having competent authority. This is properly a divorce, and called, technically, divorce a vinculo matrimonii

  2. Divorcenoun

    the separation of a married woman from the bed and board of her husband -- divorce a mensa et toro (/ thoro), "from bed board."

  3. Divorcenoun

    the decree or writing by which marriage is dissolved

  4. Divorcenoun

    separation; disunion of things closely united

  5. Divorcenoun

    that which separates

  6. Divorcenoun

    to dissolve the marriage contract of, either wholly or partially; to separate by divorce

  7. Divorcenoun

    to separate or disunite; to sunder

  8. Divorcenoun

    to make away; to put away

  9. Etymology: [F. divorce, L. divortium, fr. divortere, divertere, to turn different ways, to separate. See Divert.]


  1. Divorce

    Divorce is the termination of a marital union, the canceling of the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage and the dissolving of the bonds of matrimony between a married couple. Divorce is unlike annulment which declares the marriage null and void. Divorce laws vary considerably around the world, but in most countries it requires the sanction of a court or other authority in a legal process. The legal process of divorce may also involve issues of alimony, child custody, child support, distribution of property, and division of debt. In most countries monogamy is required by law, so divorce allows each former partner to marry another; where polygyny is legal but polyandry is not, divorce allows the woman to marry a new husband. Divorce can be a stressful experience affecting finances, living arrangements, household jobs, schedules and more. If the family includes children, they may be deeply affected. The only countries which do not allow divorce are the Philippines and the Vatican City, an ecclesiastical state, which has no procedure for divorce. Countries that have relatively recently allowed divorce are Italy, Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Malta.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Divorce

    di-vors′, n. the legal separation of husband and wife: the sentence by which a marriage is dissolved.—v.t. to separate: to sunder: to dissolve the marriage-contract of: to put away.—adj. Divorce′able.—ns. Divorcee′, a divorced person; Divorce′ment (B.), divorce; Divor′cer.—adj. Divor′cive, having power to divorce. [Fr.,—L. divortiumdivortĕre, another form of divertĕre. See Divert.]

The Roycroft Dictionary

  1. divorce

    1. A legal separation of two persons of the opposite sex who desire to respect and honor each other. 2. A marital derail.

U.S. National Library of Medicine

  1. Divorce

    Legal dissolution of an officially recognized marriage relationship.

The Foolish Dictionary, by Gideon Wurdz


    Nominally, separation of husband and wife from the bonds of matrimony. In the vicinity of Newport it is frequently a legal formula that immediately precedes a fashionable wedding.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'divorce' in Nouns Frequency: #2027

  2. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'divorce' in Verbs Frequency: #1040

How to pronounce divorce?

How to say divorce in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of divorce in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of divorce in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Examples of divorce in a Sentence

  1. Gabrielle Clemens:

    Marriage is about love, and divorce is about money, as you go through the process of divorce, everything comes down to the concept of money.

  2. Woody Allen:

    For a while we pondered whether to take a vacation or get a divorce. We decided that a trip to Bermuda is over in two weeks, but a divorce is something you always have.

  3. Randy Kessler:

    California is one of the unique states that lets the parties get a divorce without resolving all of the other issues, georgia and most other states require parties to resolve everything -- custody, child support, property division -- before they will grant them a divorce because that motivates people to finish off the negotiations so they can get a divorce.

  4. Tracy Stewart:

    During the divorce, you should be thinking in terms of what you need to do to get a career, if you need a degree or training, you negotiate during the divorce for your spouse to pay for this. Often, in a collaborative divorce, your partner will want to see that you can make ends meet; and if you ask for help paying for your education or training, your partner may offer to help, but you have to ask.

  5. Heather Brassner:

    That will not un-divorce Heather, it is the first unquestionably valid same-sex divorce, issued in full compliance with Florida law.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for divorce

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • طلاق, أطلق, تطليقArabic
  • развод, разделям, разрив, разделяне, развеждам се, развеждамBulgarian
  • divorciar, divorciCatalan, Valencian
  • rozvést, rozvodCzech
  • skilsmisseDanish
  • scheiden, Ehescheidung, ScheidungGerman
  • διαζύγιο, χωρίζω, χωρισμός, παίρνω διαζύγιοGreek
  • divorco, eksgeedziĝoEsperanto
  • divorciarse, divorcio, divorciarSpanish
  • طلاقPersian
  • erota, ero, avioero, erottaa, erotteluFinnish
  • hjúnaskilnaðurFaroese
  • divorce, divorcerFrench
  • sgaradh-pòsaidhScottish Gaelic
  • divorcio, divorciar, divorciarseGalician
  • גירושים, התגרשHebrew
  • तलाक़, तलाक, talaakHindi
  • elválik, válás, válik, elválás, elválaszt, szétválasztHungarian
  • ապահարզան, բաժանել, ամուսնալուծել, անջատում, անջատել, բաժանում, բաժանվել, խզում, ամուսնալուծվել, ամուսնալուծությունArmenian
  • desmariajo, divorcigar, divorco, divorcarIdo
  • skilnaðurIcelandic
  • divorzio, divorziareItalian
  • 離婚する, 離婚, 離婚させるJapanese
  • ವಿಚ್ orce ೇದನKannada
  • 離婚, 이혼Korean
  • ته‌لاقKurdish
  • divertoLatin
  • ScheedungLuxembourgish, Letzeburgesch
  • tokorau, tokoMāori
  • раздвојува, раскинување, одвојување, се разведува, раскин, разведува, одделува, раздвојување, се раздвојува, одвојува, развод, одделувањеMacedonian
  • वेगळेहोणे, घटस्फोट, काडीमोडMarathi
  • echtscheidingDutch
  • skillsmisseNorwegian
  • ałtsʼááʼítʼaashNavajo, Navaho
  • rozwódPolish
  • divisão, divorciar-se, divórcio, separar, separação, divorciarPortuguese
  • despărți, despărțire, divorța, divorțRomanian
  • разводиться, разрыв, отделиться, развести, отделение, развестись, разводить, расторжение брака, отделяться, разводRussian
  • brakorazvod, razvodSerbo-Croatian
  • rozvodSlovak
  • skiljande, skilsmässa, skilja åt, skilja, äktenskapsskillnadSwedish
  • talakaSwahili
  • విడాకులుTelugu
  • การหย่าร้าง, การหย่าThai
  • boşamak, boşanmak, boşanmaTurkish
  • طلاقUrdu
  • ly hôn, 離婚, ly dịVietnamese
  • matiteilVolapük

Get even more translations for divorce »


Find a translation for the divorce definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"divorce." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 26 Sep. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/divorce>.

Discuss these divorce definitions with the community:


    Are we missing a good definition for divorce? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Image or illustration of


    Credit »

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Browse Definitions.net


    Are you a words master?

    make uniform
    • A. flub
    • B. exacerbate
    • C. knead
    • D. huff

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for divorce: