From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Section \Sec"tion\, n. [L. sectio, fr. secare, sectum, to cut;
   akin to E. saw a cutting instrument: cf. F. section. See
   Saw, and cf. Scion, Dissect, Insect, Secant,
   1. The act of cutting, or separation by cutting; as, the
      section of bodies.
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   2. A part separated from something; a division; a portion; a
      slice. Specifically: 
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      (a) A distinct part or portion of a book or writing; a
          subdivision of a chapter; the division of a law or
          other writing; a paragraph; an article; hence, the
          character [sect], often used to denote such a
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                It is hardly possible to give a distinct view of
                his several arguments in distinct sections.
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      (b) A distinct part of a country or people, community,
          class, or the like; a part of a territory separated by
          geographical lines, or of a people considered as
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                The extreme section of one class consists of
                bigoted dotards, the extreme section of the
                other consists of shallow and reckless empirics.
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      (c) One of the portions, of one square mile each, into
          which the public lands of the United States are
          divided; one thirty-sixth part of a township. These
          sections are subdivided into quarter sections for sale
          under the homestead and preemption laws.
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   3. (Geom.) The figure made up of all the points common to a
      superficies and a solid which meet, or to two superficies
      which meet, or to two lines which meet. In the first case
      the section is a superficies, in the second a line, and in
      the third a point.
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   4. (Nat. Hist.) A division of a genus; a group of species
      separated by some distinction from others of the same
      genus; -- often indicated by the sign [sect].
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   5. (Mus.) A part of a musical period, composed of one or more
      phrases. See Phrase.
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   6. The description or representation of anything as it would
      appear if cut through by any intersecting plane; depiction
      of what is beyond a plane passing through, or supposed to
      pass through, an object, as a building, a machine, a
      succession of strata; profile.
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   Note: In mechanical drawing, as in these Illustrations of a
         cannon, a longitudinal section (a) usually represents
         the object as cut through its center lengthwise and
         vertically; a cross or transverse section (b), as cut
         crosswise and vertically; and a horizontal section (c),
         as cut through its center horizontally. Oblique
         sections are made at various angles. In architecture, a
         vertical section is a drawing showing the interior, the
         thickness of the walls, etc., as if made on a vertical
         plane passed through a building.
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   Angular sections (Math.), a branch of analysis which treats
      of the relations of sines, tangents, etc., of arcs to the
      sines, tangents, etc., of their multiples or of their
      parts. [R.]

   Conic sections. (Geom.) See under Conic.

   Section liner (Drawing), an instrument to aid in drawing a
      series of equidistant parallel lines, -- used in
      representing sections.

   Thin section, a section or slice, as of mineral, animal, or
      vegetable substance, thin enough to be transparent, and
      used for study under the microscope.
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   Syn: Part; portion; division.

   Usage: Section, Part. The English more commonly apply the
          word section to a part or portion of a body of men;
          as, a section of the clergy, a small section of the
          Whigs, etc. In the United States this use is less
          common, but another use, unknown or but little known
          in England, is very frequent, as in the phrases "the
          eastern section of our country," etc., the same sense
          being also given to the adjective sectional; as,
          sectional feelings, interests, etc.
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