cleav·​er ˈklē-vər How to pronounce cleaver (audio)
: one that cleaves
especially : a butcher's implement for cutting animal carcasses into joints or pieces
: a prehistoric stone tool having a sharp edge at one end

Examples of cleaver in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Grandma grasped a meat cleaver with her right hand and went to work with an authority developed over years of preparing game. Mary Ann Ferrara, The Christian Science Monitor, 12 Dec. 2023 This sharpener can accommodate chef’s knives, paring knives, boning knives, and meat cleavers. Laura Denby, Peoplemag, 10 Oct. 2023 Time for a final showdown with the supernaturally strong man wielding a bloodstained cleaver in the mall. Katie Barsotti, The New Yorker, 29 Aug. 2023 Acheulean hand axes and cleavers represent a more sophisticated type of production. Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 Oct. 2023 This set includes a wood cheese board and a cleaver, as well as a variety of meats and cheeses. Moriah Mason, Southern Living, 12 Oct. 2023 According to the probable cause statement, Ehrhardt’s body was found in the laundry room next to a large butcher knife and a cleaver. Samira Asma-Sadeque, Peoplemag, 27 Sep. 2023 Things like scissors or cleavers can be sharpened with some electric knife sharpeners as well. Meg Carney, Field & Stream, 21 Sep. 2023 Meet a supernaturally strong man who’s wielding a bloodstained cleaver. Katie Barsotti, The New Yorker, 29 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cleaver.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near cleaver

Cite this Entry

“Cleaver.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


cleav·​er ˈklē-vər How to pronounce cleaver (audio)
: a heavy knife with a wide blade

More from Merriam-Webster on cleaver

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