View synonyms for cleavage


[ klee-vij ]


  1. the act of cleaving cleave or splitting.
  2. the state of being cleft. cleave. cleft.
  3. the area between a woman's breasts, especially when revealed by a low-cut neckline.
  4. a critical division in opinion, beliefs, interests, etc., as leading to opposition between two groups:

    a growing cleavage between the Conservative and Liberal wings of the party.

  5. the tendency of crystals, certain minerals, rocks, etc., to break in preferred directions so as to yield more or less smooth surfaces cleavageplanes.
  6. Embryology. the total or partial division of the egg into smaller cells or blastomeres.
  7. Also called scission. Chemistry. the breaking down of a molecule or compound into simpler structures.


/ ˈkliːvɪdʒ /


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


/ klēvĭj /

  1. 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.
  2. Biology.
    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.


  1. 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 .

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Word History and Origins

Origin of cleavage1

First recorded in 1810–20; cleave 2 + -age
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Example Sentences

Speculation that the presence of the furin cleavage site is a signature of human genetic manipulation has made it one of the most scrutinized aspects of the genome.

After the virus binds to ACE2, the next step is to fuse with the cell, a process that begins when enzymes from the host cell cut the spike at two different sites, a process known as cleavage.

One of the mutations present in Delta actually occurs in one of these cleavage sites, and a new study that has not yet been peer reviewed shows that this mutation does enhance cleavage.

They undergo the early stages of cleavage, in which one cell becomes two, two become four, four become eight, and so on.

Two days after putting Claudy’s five embryos in the incubator, only one is still undergoing cleavage.

She wore a sea-green, V-necked frock with a modest hint of cleavage.

The camera lingers enough for us to glimpse her cleavage and a bit of her black bra.

Sensible, cleavage-free Amanda was responded to far more positively.

There are the enthusiastic fans, as well as girls in mini skirts with abundant cleavage promoting the latest TV series.

Try standing up to officialdom with that amount of cleavage brandished at you.

Beyond the Novall Junior group we cannot establish distinct lines of cleavage.

The cleavage in policy between the inspectorate and the president did not at first manifest itself.

But we have not yet done with the question of social strata and inward cleavage.

Far otherwise was it with the impending struggle of the Reformation: there the cleavage of sides followed very different lines.

This was the thin edge of the wedge by which the cleavage from Rome and the Pope was subsequently effected.


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