cleav·​er | \ ˈklē-vər How to pronounce cleaver (audio) \

Definition of cleaver

1 : one that cleaves especially : a butcher's implement for cutting animal carcasses into joints or pieces
2 : a prehistoric stone tool having a sharp edge at one end

Examples of cleaver in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Officer David Baird confronted Nelson, who struck Baird in the head with the meat cleaver before the officer shot him. Jesse Garza, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "No charges in Caledonia officer-involved shooting," 6 Dec. 2019 There was hand-to-hand fighting in the trenches, and a company mess sergeant and his kitchen staff used cleavers and butcher knives to do their part against the German raiders. Jesse Leavenworth,, "Students return to trenches where Connecticut soldiers fought a century ago," 24 Aug. 2019 Use a cleaver to chop this pile into a rough paste. Jesse Pearson,, "Fly fishing for ‘sewer salmon’ in the L.A. River," 11 July 2019 Americans will likely not tolerate such vast reductions in their old-age retirement and medical benefits, and politicians, reluctant to reduce their generosity by even modest amounts, won’t be eager to take a cleaver to them. Michael R. Strain, The Denver Post, "Guest Commentary: Elizabeth Warren will have to raise taxes on the middle class," 1 Nov. 2019 No charges will be filed against a Caledonia police officer who fatally shot a man who struck him with a meat cleaver, Racine County District Attorney Patricia Hansen has ruled. Jesse Garza, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "No charges in Caledonia officer-involved shooting," 6 Dec. 2019 The Salinas Police Department wrote on Facebook a hostage situation had unfolded in the lobby of the police department involving the woman wielding the cleaver. Fox News, "Cleaver-wielding woman subdued inside California police station," 26 Sep. 2019 As the waters rose during the worst of Hurricane Katrina, Broom’s older brother Carl, who also goes by Rabbit, stood in an attic with a meat cleaver, a gun and his two Pekingese dogs, Mindy and Tiger. New York Times, "After Hurricane Katrina, How Do You Return Home When Home No Longer Exists?," 10 Aug. 2019 Long slender blades, paring knives, a butcher’s cleaver., "Don’t worry, Dad, I remember you," 16 June 2019

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

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First Known Use of cleaver

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for cleaver

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The first known use of cleaver was in the 15th century

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Statistics for cleaver

Last Updated

16 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cleaver.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for cleaver


How to pronounce cleaver (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of cleaver

: a heavy knife with a wide blade used for cutting up large pieces of meat


cleav·​er | \ ˈklē-vər How to pronounce cleaver (audio) \

Kids Definition of cleaver

: a heavy knife used for cutting up meat

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More from Merriam-Webster on cleaver

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cleaver

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cleaver

Spanish Central: Translation of cleaver

Nglish: Translation of cleaver for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about cleaver

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