- A separation or division into factions: “[He] found it increasingly difficult to maintain party unity in the face of ideological schism over civil rights” ( Nick Kotz )
a. A formal breach of union within a religious body, especially a Christian church.
b. The offense of attempting to produce such a breach.
Origin of schism
Middle English scisme from
Old French from
Latin schisma schismat- from
Greek skhisma from skhizein to split
; see skei-
in Indo-European roots.
Usage Note: The word schism, which was originally spelled scisme, cisme, and sisme in English, is traditionally pronounced (sĭz′əm), without a (k) sound. The modern spelling with the h dates back to the 16th century, when the word was respelled to resemble its Latin and Greek ancestors. The pronunciation with (k), (skĭz′əm), was long regarded as incorrect, but it has become so common in both British and American English that it gained acceptability and now predominates in standard American usage. In our 1997 survey, 61 percent of the Usage Panel indicated that they use (skĭz′əm), while 31 percent said they use (sĭz′əm). A smaller number, 8 percent, preferred a third pronunciation, (shĭz′əm). These figures are similar to the percentages in the 1987 survey, suggesting that the two predominant pronunciations should continue to see widespread use for the foreseeable future.
- A split or separation within a group or organization, typically caused by discord.
- (religion) A formal division or split within a religious body.
- The schism between Sunnis and Shias happened quite early in Islamic history.
- (Catholicism) a split within Christianity whereby a group no longer recognizes the Bishop of Rome as the head of the Church, but shares essentially the same beliefs with the Church of Rome. In other words, a political split without the introduction of heresy.
From Old French cisme or scisme, from Ancient Greek ÏƒÏ‡Î¯ÏƒÎ¼Î± (skhisma, “division"), from ÏƒÏ‡Î¯Î¶Ï‰ (skhizÅ, “I split").