cleft

1
[ kleft ]
/ klɛft /

noun

a space or opening made by cleavage; a split.
a division formed by cleaving.
a hollow area or indentation: a chin with a cleft.
Veterinary Pathology. a crack on the bend of the pastern of a horse.

Origin of cleft

1
1300–50; Middle English clift, Old English (ge)clyft split, cracked; cognate with Old High German, Old Norse kluft; akin to cleave2

Definition for cleft (2 of 4)

cleft

2
[ kleft ]
/ klɛft /

verb

a simple past tense and past participle of cleave2.

adjective

cloven; split; divided.
(of a leaf, corolla, lobe, or other expanded plant part) having divisions formed by incisions or narrow sinuses that extend more than halfway to the midrib or the base.

Origin of cleft

2
see origin at cleft1

Definition for cleft (3 of 4)

cleave

1
[ kleev ]
/ kliv /

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.

Origin of cleave

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

Related forms

cleav·ing·ly, adverb

Definition for cleft (4 of 4)

cleave

2
[ kleev ]
/ kliv /

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 cleft

British Dictionary definitions for cleft (1 of 3)

cleft

/ (klɛft) /

verb

the past tense and a past participle of cleave 1

noun

a fissure or crevice
an indentation or split in something, such as the chin, palate, etc

adjective

split; divided
(of leaves) having one or more incisions reaching nearly to the midrib

Word Origin for cleft

Old English geclyft (n); related to Old High German kluft tongs, German Kluft gap, fissure; see cleave 1

British Dictionary definitions for cleft (2 of 3)

cleave

1
/ (kliːv) /

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 Forms

cleavable, adjectivecleavability, noun

Word Origin for cleave

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

British Dictionary definitions for cleft (3 of 3)

cleave

2
/ (kliːv) /

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

Medicine definitions for cleft

cleft

[ klĕft ]

n.

A split or fissure between two parts.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.