Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To adhere, cling, or stick fast.
  • intransitive verb To be faithful.
  • intransitive verb To split with a sharp instrument. synonym: tear.
  • intransitive verb To make or accomplish by or as if by cutting.
  • intransitive verb To pierce or penetrate.
  • intransitive verb Chemistry To split (a complex molecule) into simpler molecules.
  • intransitive verb To split or be capable or splitting, especially along a natural line of division.
  • intransitive verb To penetrate or pass through something, such as water or air.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To stick; adhere; be attached; cling: often used figuratively.
  • To fit closely.
  • noun In mining, a subdivision of a bed, usually of iron ore; a bench.
  • In agriculture, to replow (old ridges) in such a manner as to divide each in the middle. See cleaving. Also split.
  • noun A basket or basketful: as a cleave of potatoes, or of turf.
  • To part or divide by force; rend apart; split or rive; separate or sunder into parts, or (figuratively) seem to do so: as, to cleave wood; to cleave a rock.
  • To produce or effect by cleavage or clearance; make a way for by force; hew out: as, to cleave a path through a wilderness.
  • . To part or open naturally.
  • Synonyms Split, Rip, etc. See rend.
  • To come apart; divide; split; open; especially, to split with a smooth plane fracture, or in layers, as certain minerals and rocks. See cleavage, 2 and 3.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To adhere closely; to stick; to hold fast; to cling.
  • intransitive verb To unite or be united closely in interest or affection; to adhere with strong attachment.
  • intransitive verb Poetic. To fit; to be adapted; to assimilate.
  • intransitive verb To part; to open; to crack; to separate; as parts of bodies.
  • transitive verb To part or divide by force; to split or rive; to cut.
  • transitive verb To part or open naturally; to divide.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb intransitive To cling, adhere or stick fast to something; used with to or unto.
  • verb transitive To split or sever something or as if with a sharp instrument.
  • verb transitive, mineralogy To break a single crystal (such as a gemstone or semiconductor wafer) along one of its more symmetrical crystallographic planes (often by impact), forming facets on the resulting pieces.
  • verb transitive To make or accomplish by or as if by cutting.
  • verb transitive, chemistry To split (a complex molecule) into simpler molecules.
  • verb intransitive To split.
  • verb intransitive, mineralogy Of a crystal, to split along a natural plane of division.
  • noun technology Flat, smooth surface produced by cleavage, or any similar surface produced by similar techniques, as in glass.

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

  • verb make by cutting into
  • verb separate or cut with a tool, such as a sharp instrument
  • verb come or be in close contact with; stick or hold together and resist separation

Etymologies

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

[Middle English cleven, from Old English cleofian.]

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

[Middle English cleven, from Old English clēofan; see gleubh- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English cleofian, from Proto-Germanic *klibjanan, from Proto-Indo-European *gley- (“to stick”). Cognates include German kleben, Dutch kleven.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From the Old English strong verb clēofan, from Proto-Germanic *kleubanan, from Proto-Indo-European *glewbʰ- (“to cut, to slice”). Cognate with Swedish klyva, Dutch klieven, dialectal German klieben, and Greek γλύφω (glyfó, "carve").

Examples

  • The word "occupy" is a bit like the word "cleave," which, as Alan Watts was fond of pointing out, has two meanings, one of which is the precise opposite of the other.

    Eric Simpson: The Polarities Of An Occupying Ethos

  • Like the word "cleave," there are two meanings involved in the word "occupy," one of which is the exact opposite of the other.

    Eric Simpson: The Polarities Of An Occupying Ethos

  • Like the word "cleave," there are two meanings involved in the word "occupy," one of which is the exact opposite of the other.

    Eric Simpson: The Polarities Of An Occupying Ethos

  • The word "occupy" is a bit like the word "cleave," which, as Alan Watts was fond of pointing out, has two meanings, one of which is the precise opposite of the other.

    Eric Simpson: The Polarities Of An Occupying Ethos

  • The word cleave denotes a union of the firmest kind.

    Barnes New Testament Notes

  • Greenberg, while seeing no hint of an erotic bond in this story, sees the word cleave in Ruth 1: 14, and the similarity of Ruth's forceful language in expressing the willingness to stay, as indicating an "erotic pull."

    Conservapedia - Recent changes [en]

  • Greenberg, while seeing no hint of an erotic bond in this story, sees the word cleave in Ruth 1: 14, and the similarity of Ruth's forceful language in expressing the willingness to stay, as indicating an "erotic pull."

    Conservapedia - Recent changes [en]

  • Greenberg, while seeing no hint of an erotic bond in this story, sees the word cleave in Ruth 1: 14, and the similarity of Ruth's forceful language in expressing the willingness to stay, as indicating an "erotic pull."

    Conservapedia - Recent changes [en]

  • Greenberg, while seeing no hint of an erotic bond in this story, sees the word cleave in Ruth 1: 14, and the similarity of Ruth's forceful language in expressing the willingness to stay, as indicating an "erotic pull."

    Conservapedia - Recent changes [en]

  • Greenberg, while seeing no hint of an erotic bond in this story, sees the word cleave in Ruth 1: 14, and the similarity of Ruth's forceful language in expressing the willingness to stay, as indicating an "erotic pull."

    Conservapedia - Recent changes [en]

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • ... the men carve

    the hunted beast

    cleaving it

    joist to joist.

    Rachel Phillips, in As/Is

    December 21, 2006

  • How is it that cleave means "split" and "cling to" at the same time?

    Hmm.

    August 13, 2007

  • Because if you listen to prophets, they give you ammunition. The nature of twins. The millionth position of pi (do infinite numbers have beginnings?). And most of all, the double meaning of the word cleave. Did he know which was worse, which more traumatic: pulling together or tearing apart?

    p. 359

    September 15, 2007

  • Thought cleaves the interstellar gloom

    And sits in Sirius' disc all night,

    Till day makes him retrace his flight

    With smell of burning on every plume,

    Back past the sun to an earthly room.

    - Robert Frost, 'Bond and Free'.

    August 8, 2009