Definitions

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

  • adjective Divided; split.
  • adjective Botany Having indentations that extend about halfway to the center, as in certain leaves.
  • noun A crack, crevice, or split.
  • noun A split or indentation between two parts, as of the chin.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A space or opening made by cleavage; a crevice; a fissure; a furrow; a rift; a chink.
  • noun . The point where the legs are joined to the body; the crotch.
  • noun 3. That which is cloven; a cloven hoof.
  • noun A disease of horses characterized by a crack on the bend of the pastern.
  • noun A piece made by splitting: as, a cleft of wood.
  • 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.
  • noun Preterit and past participle of cleave.

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

  • imp. & p. p. from cleave.
  • noun A space or opening made by splitting; a crack; a crevice.
  • noun A piece made by splitting.
  • noun (Far.) A disease in horses; a crack on the band of the pastern.
  • noun See under Branchial.
  • adjective Divided; split; partly divided or split.
  • adjective (Bot.) Incised nearly to the midrib.

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

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

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

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

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, past participle of cleven, to split; see cleave. N., from Middle English, alteration (influenced by cleft) of clift, from Old English geclyft; see gleubh- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English clift; compare Swedish klyft ("cave, den") cave, den, German Kluft. See cleave.

Examples

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  • A dumb belch of hunger cleft his speech.

    Joyce, Ulysses, 7

    January 2, 2007

  • He sounds peckish.

    April 28, 2009