Definitions

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

  • n. A narrow fissure in rock.
  • n. A break in friendly relations: a rift between siblings.
  • intransitive v. To split open; break.
  • transitive v. To cause to split open or break.
  • n. A shallow area in a waterway.
  • n. The backwash of a wave that has broken upon a beach.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A chasm or fissure.
  • n. A break in the clouds, fog, mist etc., which allows light through.
  • v. To form a rift.
  • v. To belch.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • p. p. of rive.
  • n. An opening made by riving or splitting; a cleft; a fissure.
  • n. A shallow place in a stream; a ford.
  • transitive v. To cleave; to rive; to split
  • intransitive v. To burst open; to split.
  • intransitive v. To belch.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An opening made by riving or splitting; a fissure; a cleft or crevice; a chink.
  • n. A riving or splitting; a shattering.
  • To rive; cleave; split.
  • To make or effect by cleavage.
  • To burst open; split.
  • Split; specifically, following the general direction of the splitting or checking: said of a log: as, rift pine boards. Compare quartered, 4.
  • n. A veil; a curtain.
  • To belch.
  • n. A shallow place in a stream; a fording-place; also, rough water indicating submerged rocks.
  • n. In wood-working, a saw in which the cutting-teeth are placed at the ends of radial arms instead of upon the rim of a disk.
  • n. In geology, one of the principal cleavages or planes of weakness in building-stone, as quarried, of which the quarrymen take advantage. The two others, commonly occurring at right angles with it and with one another, are called the cut-off and the lift.

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

  • n. a narrow fissure in rock
  • n. a personal or social separation (as between opposing factions)
  • n. a gap between cloud masses

Etymologies

Middle English, of Scandinavian origin.
Probably alteration of dialectal riff, reef, from Dutch rif, riffe; see reef1.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Danish/Norwegian rift 'breach', Old Norse rífa 'to tear'. More at rive. (Wiktionary)
From Old Norse rypta. (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • A belch. --A Provincial Glossary, 1787.
    Century Dictionary lists "to belch" under the noun definitions of rift.

    May 5, 2011