Try Our Apps


Famous Last Words


[rift] /rɪft/
an opening made by splitting, cleaving, etc.; fissure; cleft; chink.
an open space, as in a forest or cloud mass, or a clear interval.
a break in friendly relations:
a rift between two people; a rift between two nations.
a difference in opinion, belief, or interest that causes such a break in friendly relations.
  1. a fault.
  2. a graben of regional extent.
the plane or direction along which a log or mass of granite can most easily be split.
wood or a piece of wood that has been split radially from a log.
verb (used with or without object)
to burst open; split.
Origin of rift
1250-1300; Middle English < Old Norse ript breaking of an agreement (compare Danish, Norwegian rift cleavage), derivative of rīfa to tear (cognate with rive)
Related forms
riftless, adjective
unrifted, adjective
Can be confused
riff, rift.
3. breach, rupture, estrangement, falling-out. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for rifted
Historical Examples
  • The pine-trees standing in inky blackness the rushing water, white with foam-above, the rifted thunder-clouds.

    The Great Lone Land W. F. Butler
  • The gray cloud-tide, now a purple sea, was rifted by billows of flame.

    Winning the Wilderness Margaret Hill McCarter
  • Then the two crept cautiously down the rifted face of the cliff, holding the shadow of the crevices.

    The Lighted Match Charles Neville Buck
  • I knew that face, and my heart was rifted as if by a thunderbolt.

    Ernest Linwood Caroline Lee Hentz
  • Large clumps of trees grow at their base, on their rifted sides, and even on their majestic tops, where the clouds seem to repose.

    Paul and Virginia Bernardin de Saint Pierre
  • His precious blood has redeemed me, and I am at rest in the shadow of the rifted Rock.

    Fifteen Years in Hell Luther Benson
  • Fifteen hundred feet higher up, above the top of the Plattenbergkopf, the ground began to be rifted.

  • At intervals an unnatural, ghastly light as from rifted clouds swiftly driving overhead passes across the scene.

    The Saxons Edwin Davies Schoonmaker
  • In the Hard Pines the bark-formation begins early and the trunks of young trees are covered with a scaly or rifted bark.

    The Genus Pinus George Russell Shaw
  • The fog was rifted by the wind so that he could see with sufficient clearness the outlines and details of the high brick castle.

    Frontier Boys in Frisco Wyn Roosevelt
British Dictionary definitions for rifted


a gap or space made by cleaving or splitting; fissure
(geology) a long narrow zone of faulting resulting from tensional stress in the earth's crust
a gap between two cloud masses; break or chink: he saw the sun through a rift in the clouds
a break in friendly relations between people, nations, etc
to burst or cause to burst open; split
Word Origin
C13: from Old Norse; related to Danish rift cleft, Icelandic ript breach of contract


noun (US)
a shallow or rocky part in a stream
the backwash from a wave that has just broken
Word Origin
C14: from Old Norse rypta; related to Icelandic ropa to belch
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for rifted



early 14c., "a split, act of splitting," from a Scandinavian source (cf. Danish and Norwegian rift "a cleft," Old Icelandic ript (pronounced "rift") "breach;" related to Old Norse ripa "to break a contract" (see riven). Figurative use from 1620s. Geological sense from 1921. As a verb, c.1300.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
rifted in Science
  1. A continental rift.

  2. A narrow break, crack, or other opening in a rock, usually made by cracking or splitting.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for rift

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for rifted

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for rifted