[riv-uh n]
See more synonyms for riven on Thesaurus.com
  1. rent or split apart.
  2. split radially, as a log.
Related formsun·riv·en, adjective


verb (used with object), rived, rived or riv·en, riv·ing.
  1. to tear or rend apart: to rive meat from a bone.
  2. to separate by striking; split; cleave.
  3. to rend, harrow, or distress (the feelings, heart, etc.).
  4. to split (wood) radially from a log.
verb (used without object), rived, rived or riv·en, riv·ing.
  1. to become rent or split apart: stones that rive easily.

Origin of rive

1225–75; Middle English riven < Old Norse rīfa to tear, split. See rift
Related formsun·rived, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for riven

Contemporary Examples of riven

Historical Examples of riven

British Dictionary definitions for riven


verb rives, riving, rived, rived or riven (ˈrɪvən) (usually passive)
  1. to split asundera tree riven by lightning
  2. to tear apartriven to shreds
  3. archaic to break (the heart) or (of the heart) to be broken

Word Origin for rive

C13: from Old Norse rīfa; related to Old Frisian rīva
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 riven

"split, cloven, rent," c.1300, past participle adjective from rive "to tear, rend."



"tear in pieces, strike asunder," c.1200, from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse rifa "to tear apart" (cf. Swedish rifva, Danish rive "scratch, tear"), from PIE root *rei- "to scratch, tear, cut" (see riparian).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper