Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adv. Into separate parts or pieces: broken asunder.
  • adv. Apart from each other either in position or in direction: The curtains had been drawn asunder.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adv. Into separate parts or pieces; apart.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adv. Apart; separate from each other; into parts; in two; separately; into or in different pieces or places.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In or into a position apart; apart or separate, either in position or in direction: said of two or more things: as, wide as the poles asunder.
  • In or into a divided state; into separate parts; in pieces: as, to tear, rend, break, burst, or cut asunder.
  • Separately; apart.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. widely separated especially in space
  • adv. into parts or pieces

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old English on sundran : on, on; see on + sundran, separately (from sunder, apart).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Originally two words; from Old English on ("a (preposition)") sundran ("separate position"). Cognate with Danish sønder, Swedish sönder, Dutch zonder, Icelandic sundur and Norwegian sunder/sønder, from Old Norse í sundr, akin to Gothic 𐍃𐌿𐌽𐌳𐍂𐍉 (sundro). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Being there helped me realise that I was kinda rent asunder from the happy nest I had there.

    Archive 2005-10-01

  • Where was solid water beneath it, is now air, and for the first time it feels the grip of gravity, and down it falls, at the same time being torn asunder from the lagging bottom of the wave and flung forward.

    Chapter 6

  • Where was solid water beneath it is now air, and for the first time it feels the grip of gravity, and down it falls, at the same time being torn asunder from the lagging bottom of the wave and being flung forward.

    Riding the South Sea Surf

  • It is the destruction of the Al Qaeda network and terrorist organizations with global reach, and, in the case of Afghanistan, the taking asunder -- that, sir, maybe that, asunder, that is not quite as good as eviscerate -- but it has to do with taking down this illegitimate government of the Taliban that provides harbor to Al Qaeda.

    CNN Transcript Nov 8, 2001

  • Full many a shield and helmet/was there 'neath sword asunder rent.

    The Nibelungenlied Translated into Rhymed English Verse in the Metre of the Original

  • Many of the white people in those provinces take little or no care of negro marriages; and when negroes marry after their own way, some make so little account of those marriages that with views of outward interest they often part men from their wives by selling them far asunder, which is common when estates are sold by executors at vendue.

    IV. 1757, 1758

  • For we must clearly see that a division in the Church on this old controverted subject would be like sawing a living man asunder; for it would be tearing the living body of Christ asunder, that is, if the

    Beams of Light on Early Methodism in America. Chiefly Drawn from the Diary, Letters, Manuscripts, Documents, and Original Tracts of the Rev. Ezekiel Cooper.

  • To wear chains is a mere jest, but when you bind a man with a skein of thread, a mere gossamer, in fact, and then tell him he must not break it asunder, that is cruelty indeed!

    The Day of Wrath

  • Or, as we read it, shall cut him asunder, that is, part body and soul, send the body to the grave to be a prey for worms, and the soul to hell to be a prey for devils, and there is the sinner cut asunder.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume V (Matthew to John)

  • You know when you use "asunder," something serious is a-going on!

    Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources

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Comments

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  • usually used with word torn

    torn asunder

    January 26, 2011

  • For B5, a series with a number of poetic episode titles, "And All My Dreams, Torn Asunder" is one of the best.

    October 21, 2007