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It's from the Oxford English Dictionary.

the entry: split

df: remove or be removed by breaking, separating, or dividing:

eg:[with obj.]the point was pressed against the edge of the flint to split off flakes.

Maybe my English really sucks, but is (are?) the definition and the example sentence a bit confusing and ambiguous? Does it mean the flakes are removed from the flint edge by breaking, or separating, or dividing(They should be flying/spraying/sprinkling away from the flint in my word)? It's somewhat awkward to me!

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    "is(are?)the definition and the example sentence" - are is the correct choice, because the definition and the example sentence is the compound subject. It appears after the primary verb because this is how such questions are structured in English (which you've done correctly). – Esoteric Screen Name May 22 '14 at 2:43
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"Are" is correct, for the reason that Esoteric has mentioned. Now, split has the meaning of causing something that is whole to separate into more than one part. There are many variations on this. You can split flakes off of flint, split logs, split a group of people into two or more groups, or split an amount of money between two or more people. A river can split into two branches, people can be split over a point of view such as politics, and so on. A banana split is a banana cut in half with ice cream and various syrups on it. A split decision in a boxing match is one judge calling the fight for one boxer, and two for the other (the winner).

I suggest that you google "definition split" and consult the numerous other dictionary entries to get a more complete understanding of the use of the word.

  • Does that mean the flakes, which are considered part of the flint, remove away from the stone? – dennylv May 22 '14 at 4:26
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    Yes it does. I'd say that the definition is a bit esoteric, but it's talking about how to shape a piece of flint into a tool such as a knife blade, by knocking off little bits of it at a time. – BobRodes May 22 '14 at 19:13
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Does it mean the flakes are removed from the flint edge by breaking, or separating, or dividing(They should be flying/spraying/sprinkling away from the flint in my word)?

Yes!

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