(noun) The formal legal or socially sanctioned termination of a marriage.


  1. Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer (1996)
  2. Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills (2008)

Audio Pronunciation: (di·vorce)

Download Audio Pronunciation: divorce.mp3

Usage Notes:

  • Plural: divorces
  • This is a simplified definition of a vast continuum of societal and cultural practices which determine the basis for a divorce and the repercussions.
  • In contrast to divorce, a separation is temporary break in a marriage that may or may not lead to a divorce.
  • A family resulting from a divorce is called a divorced family and is often a single-parent family, if one of these family types joins with another it is called a blended family.
  • Also called:
    • dissolution of marriage
    • divorcement
    • martial separation
  • Divorce used in a sentence: My partner and I are going through a divorce.
  • A (noun) divorcée is a divorced individual, typically referring to a female and a (noun) divorcer (verb) divorces another individual for (adjective) divorceable or (adjective) divorcive reasons.

Additional Information:

Related Terms:


Works Consulted

Collins English Dictionary: Complete and Unabridged. 6th ed. 2003. Glasgow, Scotland: Collins.

Jary, David, and Julia Jary. 2000. Collins Dictionary of Sociology. 3rd ed. Glasgow, Scotland: HarperCollins.

Macmillan. (N.d.) Macmillan Dictionary. (https://www.macmillandictionary.com/).

Merriam-Webster. (N.d.) Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/).

Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).

Princeton University. 2010. WordNet. (https://wordnet.princeton.edu/).

Random House Webster’s College Dictionary. 1997. New York: Random House.

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary. Wikimedia Foundation. (http://en.wiktionary.org).


How to Cite the Definition of Divorce

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “divorce.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved March 22, 2019 (http://sociologydictionary.org/divorce/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

divorce. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from http://sociologydictionary.org/divorce/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “divorce.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed March 22, 2019. http://sociologydictionary.org/divorce/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“divorce.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 22 Mar. 2019. <http://sociologydictionary.org/divorce/>.