When speaking of a husband and wife, doesn't estrange imply legal separation and possibly divorce? I would think that readers would be confused by describing a married couple still living together as "estranged." It's stronger than "at odds," for example.
This obviously doesn't apply to other relationships. I don't know how to reconcile that.
- If you know the legal definition, then by all means, please add it as a separate line, something like "# ''(law):'' a husband or wife who does not reside with their spouse". I just double checked; my definition looks correct, but there does seem to be another meaning, as you describe. --Connel MacKenzie 23:38, 17 May 2005 (UTC)
I did some digging, and as far as I can tell, estranged has no common legal meaning, though as a formal term it is often used in legal (especially family law) settings, and may appear in some statues, though as far as I can tell it’s synonymous with separated, meaning “living apart but not divorced”.
Regarding other uses, I imagine that it may be loosely used to mean “on bad terms, having a fight (but haven’t cut off relations, or have only briefly)”, rather than just in the narrow “having cut off relations” sense; if someone can find a citation or two using it that way, please feel free to add such a definition. I’ve also added “separated” as a similar term.