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

  • intransitive verb To rend or tear apart.
  • intransitive verb To break into pieces, as by a blow; cleave or split asunder.
  • intransitive verb To break or distress (the spirit, for example).
  • intransitive verb To be or become split.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To split; cleave; rend asunder by force: as, to rive timber for rails, etc., with wedges; the oak is riven.
  • To cause to pierce; thrust.
  • To pierce; stab.
  • To explode; discharge.
  • Synonyms See rend.
  • To be split or rent asunder; fall apart.
  • An obsolete or dialectal form of rife.
  • noun Bank; shore.
  • noun A rake.
  • noun A place torn; a rent; a tear.
  • noun That which is torn, as with the teeth.
  • To land; arrive.
  • To go; travel.

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

  • transitive verb To rend asunder by force; to split; to cleave.
  • noun Prov. Eng. A place torn; a rent; a rift.
  • intransitive verb To be split or rent asunder.

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

  • verb transitive To tear apart by force; to split; to cleave.
  • verb transitive, archaic To pierce or cleave with a weapon.
  • verb intransitive To break apart; to split.
  • verb In woodworking, to use a technique of splitting or sawing wood radially from a log (e.g. clapboards).
  • noun A place torn; a rent; a rift.

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

  • verb separate or cut with a tool, such as a sharp instrument
  • verb tear or be torn violently


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

Middle English riven, from Old Norse rīfa.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English riven ("to rive"), of North Germanic origin, from Old Norse rīfa ("to rend, tear apart"), from Proto-Germanic *rīfanan (“to tear, scratch”), from Proto-Indo-European *(e)reip- (“to crumble, tear”). Cognate with Danish rive ("to tear"), Old Frisian rīva ("to tear"), Old English ārǣfan ("to let loose, unwrap"), Old Norse ript (rift, "breach of contract"), Norwegian rive ("to tear") and Albanian rrip ("belt, rope"). More at rift.


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