Splice

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There are two meanings of the verb 'to splice' in OED. They are very confusing. (Fortunately one is listed only as "II. † 5. trans. and intr. To split. Obs. rare." The sign † means 'out-of-date'; the last two words stand for obsolete and rare. So you don't need to bother with this meaning.)

  • The principal meaning, and the only one in common use today, is 'to join', with various detailed subsidiary meanings. All splices have the central idea of joining. Basically, one splices things together. One does not nowadays splice them apart. The verb is mostly used in nautical contexts.
    • The original (and still most used) precise meaning of 'to splice' is as applied to ropes or other cordage. When two ropes are joined by a splice, their ends are unravelled and then woven together to form a strong bond, in some circumstances, such as a long splice, little thicker than the original rope. Thus the joined ropes can travel through any shackles or other equipment in which the original rope was used. Carpenters can also splice timber, typically long cylindrical pieces like masts or broom handles. This is now more commonly called fishing. Similarly, the usage among gardeners of splicing to mean fastening fruitful varieties of a plant into stronger varieties is now more commonly called grafting.
      • Two phrases:
        • In slang, 'to get spliced' was to be married, 'joined together [as husband and wife]'.
        • 'To splice the mainbrace' is to start drinking alcohol, 'to have a [first] drink [of the day]'. This was originally in the Royal Navy the issue of a special, additional ration of rum to mark a special occasion, such as a royal wedding, the anniversary of a victory, or the successful completion of an arduous and difficult task, such as fastening together one of the major ropes in the running rigging of a (sailing) ship.

The noun, 'splice', is only recorded with the meaning of 'join'. It is not recorded in OED with the meaning of 'a split'.

For more modern words that have two apparently directly opposing meanings, see cleave and sanction.