separate into (something)

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separate into (something)

1. To split off (from a larger group) into smaller groups or discrete parts. The desk separates into six pieces that can be easily fit back together. The class separated into groups of five while going through the museum exhibit.
2. To divide a group of people or things into smaller, discrete subgroups. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "separate" and "into." Please go through that huge stack of books and separate them into three piles—ones you want to keep, ones you want to sell, and ones you don't mind giving away. They separated all the students into different groups based on their age.
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
References in classic literature ?
The French, retreating in 1812- though according to tactics they should have separated into detachments to defend themselves- congregated into a mass because the spirit of the army had so fallen that only the mass held the army together.
According to Greenberg, incoming materials are separated into four categories to adhere to a philosophy of shredding "like materials." The four streams are monitors; personal computers; printers; and a miscellaneous stream that can include telecommunications equipment, keyboards and other computer peripherals.
Meanwhile the plastic-rich stream from the 12-to-50 mm fraction is shredded and further separated into ferrous metals, non-ferrous metals, a wood-rich fraction that is removed by color sorting (it's brown), and a plastic-rich stream.
If this egg had fully separated into two individual embryos, Amy and Angela would have been identical twins.
Even if the value of goodwill fluctuates, there is no way to measure its useful life since goodwill cannot be separated into distinctive elements or assets, each having its own depreciable useful life.(12) Other courts (see discussion below) have ruled that certain customer-based intangibles can be valued and assigned a useful life.
These can be separated into 99%-pure ABS and 97%-pure PVC, the user reports.