I'm writing a story in first person view. In that story the main character is writing about how he is now separated from a once close friend. In telling the story, I want the main character to subtly express how he really want to reunite with the friend when he say the word that is supposed to mean "separated". So what I'm looking for is a word that also carries the expectation to be reunited in addition to be separated, that can be used to replace the word "separated" in the following sentence:

This is the story of me being separated.

And as a side note, I actually want to use the word as the title of the story also.

  • 1
    Perhaps au revoir-ed? – bib Feb 9 '14 at 22:56
  • Ah, that comes from the exact definition of au revoir, doesn't it? But it's more to "goodbye" than "separated", and I guess I'm looking for a more formal word. It's creative though! =) I added a more concrete sample sentence where the word will be used. – justhalf Feb 9 '14 at 23:01
  • There is "disunited", which at least contains the word "united" for that association. But I think that would be better for a "How we became disunited" construction. – nxx Feb 9 '14 at 23:08
  • 3
    Why not move this from an adjective describing the person (I am not sure one exists with the nuances you want) to one describing something else. For example, "This is the story of our time apart." You could title it Apart. It would be very odd to refer to "time apart" for two people who never reunited. – Kate Gregory Feb 9 '14 at 23:33
  • Does it really have to be one word? What about rephrasing: This is the story of my temporary departure. – 0.. Feb 10 '14 at 0:49

I think the word you may need is 'parted'. When you 'part' from someone it does not sound as permanent as 'separate' does.

If you want something less strong than 'part', consider 'withdraw'.

I do not think there is a word which means to part with the intention of reuniting. To achieve that you would have to say something like 'temporary separation', or 'short-term parting' etc.

  • Parted actually sounds good, as so with "withdraw". I like the emotional impression with the word "parted" (or is it only me?). Thank you for your suggestions on the phrases, I'll consider those if I can't get the word I want. =) – justhalf Feb 10 '14 at 1:21

Not a single word, but the phrase held in abeyance has some of the characteristics you are seeking

(usually preceded by in or into) a state of being suspended or put aside temporarily

The verb suspended also convey much of what you seek, although not limite to being separated

to force (someone) to leave a job, position, or place for a usually short period of time as a form of punishment

  • The definition of suspended fits quite nicely to what I'm looking for, but to use "suspended" I guess I need to change the sentence a bit, as it doesn't really focus on the "separated" part if I just use that to directly replace the word "separated". Thanks for the great answer! – justhalf Feb 10 '14 at 1:16
  • For abeyance, I see that the meaning in law is related to something being in an indeterminate state of ownership, I don't really want that. However, I like the word origin: "a gaping after, a reaching towards". So this could possibly fit my need. I'm not really familiar with the word, but what comes to your mind when you see a story titled "Abeyance"? – justhalf Feb 10 '14 at 1:26
  • Awaiting what comes next. With eager (and maybe ominous) anticipation. – bib Feb 10 '14 at 1:41
  • Hmm, I prefer a word with more positive anticipation. – justhalf Feb 10 '14 at 3:23

I would like to contribute a coined word: "Preunited". You're welcome.

  • Looks good also, but it puts too much emphasis on the reunion. As I said, the word should primarily mean "separated", and I want it to subtly convey the expectation of the main character to be reunited. – justhalf Feb 10 '14 at 1:17
  • 1
    I actually used this word (actually "Preunion") in another writing (a poem) of mine as the title. So, thank you Spehro! +1 =) – justhalf Oct 28 '14 at 1:55

what is wrong with absence? Perhaps it is a little bit more cryptical but therefore more interesting in my opinion.

  • That's actually quite fitting, thank you for your suggestion. But in my story I don't use any word to refer to the other person, while using "absence" requires me to refer to the other person as in "the absence of my friend". – justhalf Feb 10 '14 at 10:41

What about interval?

The play or film always commences after the interval. Likewise when two friends are separated but are destined to reunite, we could call that period an interval.

= space of time between two events or actions; break, pause, intermission; space between two periods of time; difference in pitch between two musical tones

  • Looks good to refer to the time period. But I guess I want the word to refer to the state of being separated, not just the time in which they are separated. – justhalf Feb 10 '14 at 1:18

From what you're describing, it seems that the emotions come from the build-up to the reunion. Perhaps that's something to focus on instead of the separation itself?

I actually want to use the word as the title of the story also.

Perhaps this is something that gives you more literary freedom in discounting the literal meaning of the words? "Made up" words in the sense of not following the dictionary definition could work, such as unseparation and its derivatives. This works especially well for a romantic scenario imho, so whoever comes up with "Undivorced, the" NYT bestseller should send through royalties.

If this were not about friends but a romantic relationship, you would focus on the repetition of the act with reunion, re-connection or remarriage. You can't quite do that with befriend but you could with reacquainted, and if you're not writing for twitter the title could grow a bit to "Befriended, again".

  • Thank you for your suggestion, but the main question is on the usage of that word in the main content, not the title, so I do want an existing word. =) And from other parts of the story, indeed I have written it in such a way that conveys the expectation of the main character to be reunited, and now I want to put that expectation a little bit more through the usage of this specific word I'm looking for. – justhalf Feb 10 '14 at 5:13

You take a break in a relationship.

he is taking a break from a once-close friend

Read up on the idea from the various resources the above Google Search brings up. Interesting.

  • It's interesting indeed that "taking a break" is highly correlated with "taking a break from someone" in Google. Thanks for the insight, but I guess it's not taking a break, as the separation was not voluntary, as "taking a break" suggests. – justhalf Feb 10 '14 at 10:42

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