an opening made by splitting, cleaving, etc.; fissure; cleft; chink.
an open space, as in a forest or cloud mass, or a clear interval.
a break in friendly relations: a rift between two people; a rift between two nations.
a difference in opinion, belief, or interest that causes such a break in friendly relations.
a graben of regional extent.
the plane or direction along which a log or mass of granite can most easily be split.
wood or a piece of wood that has been split radially from a log.
to burst open; split.
- riftless, adjective
- un·rift·ed, adjective
- riff, rift
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use rift in a sentence
Material from the upper mantle then seeps up through the rift between the plates to fill in the seafloor.An upwelling of rock beneath the Atlantic may drive continents apart | Maria Temming | February 4, 2021 | Science News
Even the simplest decisions led him into deep philosophical rifts.The Climate Crisis Is Worse Than You Can Imagine. Here’s What Happens If You Try. | by Elizabeth Weil | January 25, 2021 | ProPublica
Then, after a rift with owner Art Modell drove him from Cleveland, Brown led the Cincinnati Bengals to playoff appearances in three of their first six years as an NFL franchise.College football coaches in the NFL: The good, the bad and the Holtz | Matt Bonesteel | January 15, 2021 | Washington Post
This worldwide rift system snakes for over 72,000 kilometers around the globe, cutting through the centers of the world’s oceans.How the Earth-shaking theory of plate tectonics was born | Carolyn Gramling | January 13, 2021 | Science News
The correlation lent weight to the idea that the rift was where the crust was pulling apart, and gave Tharp a way to accurately locate the rift between the ship tracks.Marie Tharp’s groundbreaking maps brought the seafloor to the world | Betsy Mason | January 13, 2021 | Science News
Her mother made demands about a big ceremony and caused a rift between them.
The rift put Washington at odds with countries like Brazil, Uruguay or Chile, which seemed to have come to terms with their past.Venezuela Says Goodbye to Its Lil Friend, While the Rest of the Continent Cheers | Catalina Lobo-Guererro | December 20, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Hagel sought to downplay any rift in a statement to Defense Department employees.Hagel Takes a Bullet for Obama: Inside the Defense Secretary’s Sudden Firing | Shane Harris, Tim Mak | November 24, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
But the rift was, not least, a matter of personalities and egos.ISIS and Al Qaeda Ready to Gang Up on Obama's Rebels | Jamie Dettmer | November 11, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
The Oculus rift essentially tricks your brain into believing what it sees is real.Welcome to Oculus XXX: In-Your-Face 3D is the Future of Porn | Aurora Snow | October 18, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
There was a narrow rift here between the titan cliffs of darkness and he—the ship he was in—was fleeing across that rift.The Stars, My Brothers | Edmond Hamilton
The older group commenced with a series of fissure eruptions along the site of the present rift-valley and parallel with it.
This great volcanic period was followed by the eruptions of Kibo and some of the larger volcanoes of the rift-valley.
The great rift in the volcano widened, and the molten lava was visible until steam rose again.The Flaming Mountain | Harold Leland Goodwin
As far as the eye can reach is a sea of green tree-tops, with occasionally a deep rift where there is a chasm.Dracula | Bram Stoker
British Dictionary definitions for rift (1 of 2)
a gap or space made by cleaving or splitting; fissure
geology a long narrow zone of faulting resulting from tensional stress in the earth's crust
a gap between two cloud masses; break or chink: he saw the sun through a rift in the clouds
a break in friendly relations between people, nations, etc
to burst or cause to burst open; split
British Dictionary definitions for rift (2 of 2)
a shallow or rocky part in a stream
the backwash from a wave that has just broken
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 rift
A continental rift.
A narrow break, crack, or other opening in a rock, usually made by cracking or splitting.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.