- a North American plant, Galium aparine, of the madder family, having short, hooked bristles on the stems and leaves and bearing very small white flowers.
- any of certain related species.
Origin of cleavers
- a heavy, broad-bladed knife or long-bladed hatchet, especially one used by butchers for cutting meat into joints or pieces.
- a person or thing that cleaves.
Origin of cleaver
Examples from the Web for cleavers
Some people swear by cleavers; others (like me) are terrified by them.The 2012 Holiday Kitchen Gift Guide
December 13, 2012
A tremendous noise of cleavers and pans came from the kitchen.The Fat and the Thin
The antique fireplace and the ancient mantelpiece were forced to keep company with meat blocks and butchers' cleavers.Duffels
Before him was a glass counter wherein were displayed knives and cleavers and scissors and other cutlery.Stubble
The town might follow us to church with a serenade of marrowbones and cleavers, as they do the butchers.Mildred Arkell, (Vol 3 of 3)
"Galium tricorne," very much like common goose-grass or cleavers, but rare in England, and quite unknown in this neighbourhood.In a Cheshire Garden
- (functioning as singular) a Eurasian rubiaceous plant, Galium aparine, having small white flowers and prickly stems and fruitsAlso called: goosegrass, hairif, sticky willie
- a heavy knife or long-bladed hatchet, esp one used by butchers
Word Origin and History for cleavers
late 15c., "one who splits," agent noun from cleave (v.1). Originally "one who splits boards with a wedge instead of sawing;" attested as part of a surname from mid-14c. Meaning "butcher's chopper" is from mid-15c.
This last ["Marrowbones and Cleaver"] is a sign in Fetter Lane, originating from a custom, now rapidly dying away, of the butcher boys serenading newly married couples with these professional instruments. Formerly, the band would consist of four cleavers, each of a different tone, or, if complete, of eight, and by beating their marrowbones skilfully against these, they obtained a sort of music somewhat after the fashion of indifferent bell-ringing. When well performed, however, and heard from a proper distance, it was not altogether unpleasant. ... The butchers of Clare market had the reputation of being the best performers. ... This music was once so common that Tom Killigrew called it the national instrument of England. [Larwood & Hotten, "The History of Signboards from the Earliest Times to the Present Day," London, 1867]
- A bifacial stone tool flaked to produce a straight, sharp, relatively wide edge at one end. Cleavers are early core tools associated primarily with the Acheulian tool culture.