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

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 the men from the boys

to show which people in a group can do something difficult and which people cannot The five-day camping trip next month should separate the men from the boys!
See also: boy, men, separate

go your separate ways

to end your relationship We were good friends in college, but after graduation we went our separate ways. The two firms went their separate ways about 18 months ago.
See also: separate, way

separate the wheat from the chaff

to choose what is of high quality over what is of lower quality As we learn more about computer programs for the classroom, we are able to separate the wheat from the chaff and get the right software for our kids.
See also: chaff, separate, wheat

separate/sort out the men from the boys

if a difficult situation or activity separates the men from the boys, it shows which people in a group are brave and strong and which are not You have to survive outdoors for three days and three nights. That should separate the men from the boys.
See also: boy, men, out, separate

separate the wheat from the chaff

to choose the things or people that are of high quality from a group of mixed quality A preliminary look through the applications will help you to separate the wheat from the chaff.
See separate out the men from the boys, separate the sheep from the goats
See also: chaff, separate, wheat

separate the sheep from the goats

  (British, American & Australian) also sort (out) the sheep from the goats (British & Australian)
to choose the people or things of high quality from a group of mixed quality I'll look through the application forms and separate the sheep from the goats.
See also: goat, separate, sheep

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
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.