Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • v. A past tense and a past participle of cleave1.
  • adj. Divided; split.
  • adj. Botany Having indentations that extend about halfway to the center, as in certain leaves.
  • n. A crack, crevice, or split.
  • n. A split or indentation between two parts, as of the chin.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An opening, fissure, or V-shaped indentation made by or as if by splitting.
  • n. A piece made by splitting.
  • n. A disease of horses; a crack on the band of the pastern.
  • v. Simple past tense and past participle of cleave.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • imp. & p. p. from cleave.
  • adj. Divided; split; partly divided or split.
  • adj. Incised nearly to the midrib.
  • n. A space or opening made by splitting; a crack; a crevice.
  • n. A piece made by splitting.
  • n. A disease in horses; a crack on the band of the pastern.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Split; divided; cloven.
  • In botany, divided half-way down or somewhat further, with narrow or acute sinuses between the lobes: applied to a lobed leaf, calyx, etc.
  • n. A space or opening made by cleavage; a crevice; a fissure; a furrow; a rift; a chink.
  • n. . The point where the legs are joined to the body; the crotch.
  • n. 3. That which is cloven; a cloven hoof.
  • n. A disease of horses characterized by a crack on the bend of the pastern.
  • n. A piece made by splitting: as, a cleft of wood.
  • n. Preterit and past participle of cleave.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a split or indentation in something (as the palate or chin)
  • adj. having one or more incisions reaching nearly to the midrib
  • n. a long narrow opening

Etymologies

Middle English, past participle of cleven, to split; see cleave1. N., from Middle English, alteration (influenced by cleft) of clift, from Old English geclyft.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old English clift; compare Swedish klyft ("cave, den") cave, den, German Kluft. See cleave. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • He sounds peckish.

    April 28, 2009

  • A dumb belch of hunger cleft his speech.
    Joyce, Ulysses, 7

    January 2, 2007