separate

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under separate cover

old fashioned In a separate correspondence. This letter serves only as a receipt of your application—we shall send you our decision under separate cover after it has been reviewed.
See also: cover, separate

go (one's) separate ways

1. To part from someone else's company. Once we got back to the first floor, Phil and I went our separate ways to our respective offices.
2. To end a relationship with someone. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. My boyfriend and I went our separate ways because he wanted to get married, and I didn't.
See also: separate, way

separate the sheep from the goats

To separate the good from the bad. In this Biblical phrase, sheep represent the good and goats the bad. When you choose the students for your homeroom, don't separate the sheep from the goats and give me all the troublemakers!
See also: goat, separate, sheep

separate the wheat from the chaff

To separate the good or valuable from that which is inferior. Can you please separate the wheat from the chaff? I have no idea which of these old tools still work.
See also: chaff, separate, wheat

segregate (someone) from (someone else)

 and segregate (something) from (something else)
to separate someone from someone else or something from something else. I was asked to segregate the swimmers from the nonswimmers. Let's segregate the larger fish from the smaller ones.
See also: segregate

separate but equal

segregated but of equal value or quality. (A doctrine once sanctioned by the U.S. Supreme Court regarding racial segregation.) The separate but equal doctrine was abandoned years ago. They were provided with facilities that were said to be separate but equalbut were really of a lower standard.
See also: but, equal, separate

separate off (from something)

to move or head away from something. The road to the cabin separates off from the main road and goes along for a mile or two. It separates off about a mile from here.
See also: off, separate

separate someone from (someone else)

 and separate something from something else
to segregate people or things. The nurse separated the infected people from the healthy ones. Please separate the spoiled apples from the good ones.
See also: separate

separate someone or something into something

to divide people or things into subdivisions. We had to separate the kids into smaller groups. Jane separated the apples into three groups by size.
See also: separate

separate something from something else Go to separate someone from someone

else.
See also: else, separate

separate something off from something

 and separate something off
to remove something from something. Frank separated the cream off from the milk. Separate off the hens from the rooster.
See also: off, separate

separate something out of something

 and separate something out
to remove something out from something. She used a filter to separate the dirt particles out of the water. A filter separated out the impurities.
See also: of, out, separate

separate the men from the boys

 and separate the sheep from the goats
Fig. to separate the competent from those who are less competent. (Not necessarily just about males.) This is the kind of task that separates the men from the boys. Working in a challenging place like this really separates the sheep from the goats.
See also: boy, men, separate

separate the wheat from the chaff

Prov. to separate what is useful or valuable from what is worthless. When it comes to books, time will separate the wheat from the chaff. Good books will have lasting appeal, and the rest will be forgotten. The managers hoped that the new procedure for evaluating employees would separate the wheat from the chaff.
See also: chaff, separate, wheat

separate but equal

Relating to or affected by a policy whereby two groups may be segregated if they are given equal facilities and opportunities. For example, They've divided up the physical education budget so that the girls' teams are separate but equal to the boys . This idiom comes from a Louisiana law of 1890, upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Plessy v. Ferguson, "requiring all railway companies carrying passengers on their trains in this state, to provide equal but separate accommodations for the white and colored races." Subsequently it was widely used to separate African-Americans from the white population through a general policy of racial segregation. In 1954, in a unanimous ruling to end school segregation, the Supreme Court finally overturned the law (in Brown v. Board of Education).
See also: but, equal, separate

separate the men from the boys

Distinguish between mature, experienced individuals and novices, as in The picket line will separate the men from the boys in the union. The idiom is used without respect to gender. [c. 1930]
See also: boy, men, separate

separate the sheep from the goats

Distinguish between good and bad individuals, or superior and inferior ones. For example, In a civil war where both sides commit atrocities, you can't separate the sheep from the goats . This term refers to Jesus's prophecy in the New Testament (Matthew 25:32) that the sheep (that is, the compassionate) will sit on God's right hand (and find salvation), and the goats (the hard-hearted) will sit on the left (and be sent to damnation).
See also: goat, separate, sheep

separate wheat from chaff

Sort the valuable from the worthless, as in I hope we'll get a preview of the auction so we can separate the wheat from the chaff. This idiom alludes to the ancient practice of winnowing grain.
See also: chaff, separate, wheat

separate the wheat from the chaff

or

separate the grain from the chaff

If you separate the wheat from the chaff or separate the grain from the chaff, you decide which things or people in a group are good or necessary, and which are not. The first two rounds of the contest separate the wheat from the chaff. Judges should not forget that when you separate the wheat from the chaff, you should try to keep the wheat. Note: You can use sort or sort out instead of separate. It's up to Wilkinson to sort out the wheat from the chaff and get the team back to the top of the table. Note: You can refer to the good or necessary things or people in a group as wheat or grain, and to the others as chaff. There's so little wheat in all this chaff. Was there rather less grain than chaff? Note: `Chaff' refers to the outer covers of wheat or other cereal which are separated from the grain by a process called winnowing. In the Bible (Matthew 3:12; Luke 3:17), John the Baptist uses the image of someone separating the wheat from the chaff to describe how Jesus will separate those who go to heaven from those who go to hell.
See also: chaff, separate, wheat

sort out the men from the boys

or

separate the men from the boys

If a difficult situation or competition sorts out the men from the boys or separates the men from the boys, it tests people and shows who is strong and capable and who is not. This is the game that will sort out the men from the boys. It is absolutely vital to win the replay and get to the final.
See also: boy, men, out, sort

separate the sheep from the goats

or

sort out the sheep from the goats

If you separate the sheep from the goats or sort out the sheep from the goats, you examine a group of things or people and decide which are good and which are bad. It is getting harder and harder to sort out the sheep from the goats among the 4,000 or so titles for children that are published every year. Testing exists to separate the sheep from the goats. Note: The Bible says that on the Day of Judgment, Jesus will divide his sheep from the goats. The sheep represent those who are going to heaven, and the goats represent those who are going to hell. (Matthew 25:32)
See also: goat, separate, sheep
References in classic literature ?
The answer is obvious: The weakness of most of the members, who are unwilling to expose themselves to the mercy of foreign powers; the weakness of most of the principal members, compared with the formidable powers all around them; the vast weight and influence which the emperor derives from his separate and heriditary dominions; and the interest he feels in preserving a system with which his family pride is connected, and which constitutes him the first prince in Europe; -- these causes support a feeble and precarious Union; whilst the repellant quality, incident to the nature of sovereignty, and which time continually strengthens, prevents any reform whatever, founded on a proper consolidation.
The Protestant and Catholic cantons have since had their separate diets, where all the most important concerns are adjusted, and which have left the general diet little other business than to take care of the common bailages.
There is no common boundary at which the syllables join, but each is separate and distinct from the rest.
You understand that you must not separate from it for an instant.
The first precaution to adopt was to separate Emily from friends whose advice might be hostile to his interests--perhaps even subversive of his security.
Invite Emily to be your guest, and so separate her from these friends.
At the upper end of the banquet room was a separate table provided for the animals.
At last, however, they fell a-quarrelling among themselves, and each went off to pasture alone in a separate corner of the field.
When converted by subsidence into large separate islands, there will still exist many individuals of the same species on each island: intercrossing on the confines of the range of each species will thus be checked: after physical changes of any kind, immigration will be prevented, so that new places in the polity of each island will have to be filled up by modifications of the old inhabitants; and time will be allowed for the varieties in each to become well modified and perfected.
I have myself published separate volumes on the 'Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs;' on the 'Volcanic Islands visited during the Voyage of the Beagle;' and on the 'Geology of South America.
Emotions are traditionally regarded by psychologists as a separate class of mental occurrences: I am, of course, not concerned to deny the obvious fact that they have characteristics which make a special investigation of them necessary.
Desires and pleasures and pains, according to the theory adopted in Lecture III, are characteristics of processes, not separate ingredients.
In the Levins' house, so long deserted, there were now so many people that almost all the rooms were occupied, and almost every day it happened that the old princess, sitting down to table, counted them all over, and put the thirteenth grandson or granddaughter at a separate table.
I'm coming, I'm coming, Varvara Andreevna," said Sergey Ivanovitch, finishing his cup of coffee, and putting into their separate pockets his handkerchief and cigar-case.
But for this miserable obstacle, he might have taken the Diamond to Amsterdam, and have made a marketable commodity of it, by having it cut up into separate stones.
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