Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 29, 2020 is:
asunder uh-SUN-der adverb or adjective
1 : into parts
2 : apart from each other
“Though they sip their port in close contiguity, they are poles asunder in their minds and feelings.” — Anthony Trollope, The Small House at Allington, 1862
“Anna Andrews is the ‘she’ in the story…. As an adult, Anna’s private life is in tatters, but at least she has a prestigious job as a BBC news anchor. In the space of 48 hours, even that’s torn asunder.” — Carole E. Barrowman, The Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota), 31 May 2020
Did you know?
Asunder can be traced back to the Old English word sundor, meaning “apart.” It is a relative of the verb sunder, which means “to break apart” or “to become parted, disunited, or severed.” The “into parts” sense of asunder is often used in the phrase “tear asunder,” which can be used both literally and figuratively (as in “a family torn asunder by tragedy”). The “apart from each other” sense can be found in the phrase “poles asunder,” used to describe two things that are as vastly far apart as the poles of the Earth.