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A group, organization, or movement of people that separates or departs from a larger group due to having divergent ideas, ideology, goals, plans, etc. The splinter group consists of radicals who broke from the orthodox church to form a new ministry based on religious extremism. The group of politicians, lobbyists, and activists had the ambition of becoming a new political party, but they never grew into anything more than a minor splinter group that dissipated after the following election season.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
A part of an organization that breaks away from the main body, usually owing to disagreement. For example, Perot's supporters at first constituted a splinter group but soon formed a third political party . This idiom alludes to the noun splinter, a fragment of wood or some other material that is split or broken off. [Mid-1900s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.