Definition of


  1. (noun, act) division of a group into opposing factions
  2. (noun, event) the formal separation of a church into two churches or the withdrawal of one group over doctrinal differences

via WordNet, Princeton University

Synonyms of Schism


Alternate forms of Schism

Derivations: schismatic, schismatical

Hypernyms: breach, break, division, falling out, rift, rupture, severance

Origin of the word Schism

  1. late 14c., scisme, "dissention within the church," from O.Fr. cisme "a cleft, split," from L.L. schisma, from Gk. skhisma (gen. skhismatos) "division, cleft," from stem of skhizein "to split" (see shed (v.)). Spelling restored 16c., but pronunciation unchanged. Often in reference to the Great Schism (1378-1417) in the Western Chu… more

via Online Etymology Dictionary, ©2001 Douglas Harper

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