[ klee-vij ]
/ ˈkli vɪdʒ /
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Origin of cleavage

First recorded in 1810–20; cleave2 + -age

Words nearby cleavage

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use cleavage in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for cleavage

/ (ˈkliːvɪdʒ) /

informal the separation between a woman's breasts, esp as revealed by a low-cut dress
a division or split
(of crystals) the act of splitting or the tendency to split along definite planes so as to yield smooth surfaces
Also called: segmentation embryol (in animals) the repeated division of a fertilized ovum into a solid ball of cells (a morula), which later becomes hollow (a blastula)
the breaking of a chemical bond in a molecule to give smaller molecules or radicals
geology the natural splitting of certain rocks, or minerals such as slates, or micas along the planes of weakness
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

Scientific definitions for cleavage

[ klēvĭj ]

Geology The breaking of certain minerals along specific planes, making smooth surfaces. These surfaces are parallel to the faces of the molecular crystals that make up the minerals. A mineral that exhibits cleavage breaks into smooth pieces with the same pattern of parallel surfaces regardless of how many times it is broken. Some minerals, like quartz, do not have a cleavage and break into uneven pieces with rough surfaces.
  1. The series of mitotic cell divisions by which a single fertilized egg cell becomes a many-celled blastula. Each division produces cells half the size of the parent cell.
  2. Any of the single cell divisions in such a series.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for cleavage


The process by which an animal cell divides into two daughter cells after mitosis. In an embryo, this process is repeated many times and leads to the formation of the blastula.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.