Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[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. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for rifted
Historical Examples
  • I knew that face, and my heart was rifted as if by a thunderbolt.

    Ernest Linwood Caroline Lee Hentz
  • The gray cloud-tide, now a purple sea, was rifted by billows of flame.

    Winning the Wilderness Margaret Hill McCarter
  • Still, where indeed the rifted reed hath cut it clean in twain.

    Theocritus Theocritus
  • His precious blood has redeemed me, and I am at rest in the shadow of the rifted Rock.

    Fifteen Years in Hell Luther Benson
  • At intervals an unnatural, ghastly light as from rifted clouds swiftly driving overhead passes across the scene.

    The Saxons Edwin Davies Schoonmaker
  • 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
  • The roads were rifted and torn up by the deluge of rains which had poured down the mountain sides.

    Our Standard-Bearer Oliver Optic
  • 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
  • But his was an April despair, after all, with rifted clouds and spring sunshine pouring through.

  • They are delving and tracing the fat brown quartz, gold laden, from between the streaks of rifted basalt and porphyry.

    The Little Lady of Lagunitas Richard Henry Savage
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

Nearby words for rifted

Word Value for rifted

Scrabble Words With Friends