1. An arrangement terminating the rights and responsibilities of marriage and providing for the disposition of marital property, alimony, and child custody. Unlike a divorce, a legal separation can be revoked, but also may be converted into a divorce in the absence of reconciliation.
2. A court order establishing this arrangement. In both senses also called judicial separation.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.