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

One of them, Jimmy Sham, said he was attacked at a restaurant by two men armed with a baseball bat and a cleaver, while the other, Max Chung, said he was assaulted by men with umbrellas and metal bars. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, "Amid Hong Kong protests, a garrison troop rotation raises fears about the Chinese military," 29 Aug. 2019 Protesters also suspect the authorities of involvement in a spate of attacks on democracy activists by men armed with sticks, baseball bats and even meat cleavers. Keith Bradsher, New York Times, "Beijing’s Hong Kong Strategy: More Arrests, No Concessions," 20 Aug. 2019 Phildecarp uses one to tap a cleaver through hard squashes. Becky Krystal, Washington Post, "8 reader favorites for non-culinary tools to use in the kitchen," 6 Sep. 2019 The documents state that, after the killing, Sanchez hid the bloody cleaver in her attic. Evan Simko-bednarski, CNN, "Woman sentenced to 23 years in meat cleaver killing," 21 Aug. 2019 Then Lenin’s 1917 guillotine dropped on the aristocracy like a cleaver on a sturgeon full of caviar. Jim Kempton, Orange County Register, "Follow the French: A look at the French influence on cuisine around the world," 2 Aug. 2019 Enter to the percussive beat of a cleaver before sitting to a slow-cooked, spice-rich Jaliscan broth bearing the occasional bone splinter, served with a stack of hot tortillas and compulsory lime, onion and cilantro. Hadley Tomicki, Los Angeles Times, "17 places you probably have to try to understand birria in L.A.," 31 July 2019 Since then, several attacks on Beijing’s opponents in Hong Kong have brought whispers of triad involvement, including the gruesome slashing of former newspaper editor Kevin Lau with a meat cleaver in 2014. Laignee Barron / Hong Kong, Time, "Suspected 'Triad' Gangs Mark Dangerous New Phase in Hong Kong's Crisis," 23 July 2019 Determining who among the four contestants could claim the title of Butcher Champion came down to three timed challenges, with one contestant eliminated in each round: First was to break down half a hog and split it on a rail with a cleaver. Julie Gallant, Ramona Sentinel, "Ramona butcher claims top prize in History Channel contest," 25 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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Statistics for cleaver

Last Updated

12 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for cleaver

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

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More Definitions for cleaver



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cleaver

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cleaver

Spanish Central: Translation of cleaver

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

Comments on cleaver

What made you want to look up cleaver? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to wander slowly or to speak indistinctly

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