cleave

1
[kleev]

verb (used without object), cleaved or (Archaic) clave; cleaved; cleav·ing.

to adhere closely; stick; cling (usually followed by to).
to remain faithful (usually followed by to): to cleave to one's principles in spite of persecution.

Nearby words

  1. cleavage division,
  2. cleavage line,
  3. cleavage product,
  4. cleavage site,
  5. cleavage spindle,
  6. cleaver,
  7. cleavers,
  8. cleburne,
  9. clechy,
  10. cleck

Origin of cleave

1
before 900; Middle English cleven, Old English cleofian, cognate with Old High German klebēn (German kleben)

Related formscleav·ing·ly, adverb

cleave

2
[kleev]

verb (used with object), cleft or cleaved or clove, cleft or cleaved or clo·ven, cleav·ing.

to split or divide by or as if by a cutting blow, especially along a natural line of division, as the grain of wood.
to make by or as if by cutting: to cleave a path through the wilderness.
to penetrate or pass through (air, water, etc.): The bow of the boat cleaved the water cleanly.
to cut off; sever: to cleave a branch from a tree.

verb (used without object), cleft or cleaved or clove, cleft or cleaved or clo·ven, cleav·ing.

to part or split, especially along a natural line of division.
to penetrate or advance by or as if by cutting (usually followed by through).

Origin of cleave

2
before 950; Middle English cleven, Old English clēofan, cognate with Old High German klioban (German klieben), Old Norse kljūfa; akin to Greek glýphein to carve, Latin glūbere to peel

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cleave


British Dictionary definitions for cleave

cleave

1

verb cleaves, cleaving, cleft, cleaved, clove, cleft, cleaved or cloven

to split or cause to split, esp along a natural weakness
(tr) to make by or as if by cuttingto cleave a path
(when intr, foll by through) to penetrate or traverse
Derived Formscleavable, adjectivecleavability, noun

Word Origin for cleave

Old English clēofan; related to Old Norse kljūfa, Old High German klioban, Latin glūbere to peel

verb

(intr foll by to) to cling or adhere

Word Origin for cleave

Old English cleofian; related to Old High German klebēn to stick

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

Word Origin and History for cleave
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper