cleavage

noun

cleav·​age ˈklē-vij How to pronounce cleavage (audio)
1
a
: the quality of a crystallized substance or rock of splitting along definite planes
also : the occurrence of such splitting
b
: a fragment (as of a diamond) obtained by splitting
2
: the action of cleaving or splitting : the state of being cleft
3
: the series of synchronized mitotic cell divisions of a fertilized egg that results in the formation of the blastomeres and changes the single-celled zygote into a multicellular embryo
also : one of these cell divisions
4
: the splitting of a molecule into simpler molecules
5
: the depression between a woman's breasts especially when made visible by a low-cut neckline

Example Sentences

The dress is cut low enough to reveal a lot of cleavage. the cleavage between the rich and poor the cleavages of an egg as an embryo develops
Recent Examples on the Web The proposal called for possibly enhancing the viruses with something called a furin cleavage site to boost their entry into human cells. Katherine Eban, ProPublica, 28 Oct. 2022 Wearing nothing underneath, Harry officially announced that summertime cleavage is here to stay. Seventeen, 22 Aug. 2022 Chileans don't think in terms of left or right politics as much as in terms of a cleavage between chaos and order, according to Kenneth Bunker, a political scientist and the director of Tresquintos.cl, a digital platform of political analysis. Daniela Mohor W., CNN, 20 Nov. 2021 Rooting for Smith is the trendiest thing to do at the Grammys – yep, even cooler than showing off major cleavage. Alison Schwartz, Peoplemag, 22 Oct. 2022 In his September 1 formal address in Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Biden struggled with the cleavage in the Republican Party. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, 22 Sep. 2022 As for Russia itself, this latest move, sadly and unnecessarily in my view, deepens the divide between it and Europe, and is yet another cleavage in an increasingly fractured post-globalization world order. Mike O'sullivan, Forbes, 13 Nov. 2021 The Euphoria star opted for a cleavage-baring look keeping all of the buttons of her top undone and tying it in the front. Jasmine Washington, Seventeen, 10 Oct. 2022 The density divide is the Ur-cleavage from which so many other modern American divisions flow. Andrew Van Dam, Washington Post, 29 Sep. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cleavage.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1816, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of cleavage was in 1816

Dictionary Entries Near cleavage

Cite this Entry

“Cleavage.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cleavage. Accessed 29 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

cleavage

noun

cleav·​age ˈklē-vij How to pronounce cleavage (audio)
1
: the quality of a crystallized substance or rock of splitting in definite directions
2
: the action of cleaving : the state of being cleaved
3
: the series of mitotic cell divisions of a fertilized egg that changes the single cell into a many-celled embryo

Medical Definition

cleavage

noun

cleav·​age ˈklē-vij How to pronounce cleavage (audio)
1
: the series of synchronized mitotic cell divisions of the fertilized egg that results in the formation of the blastomeres and changes the single-celled zygote into a multicellular embryo
also : one of these cell divisions
2
: the splitting of a molecule into simpler molecules

More from Merriam-Webster on cleavage

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