cleav·​ers | \ ˈklē-vərz How to pronounce cleavers (audio) \

Definition of cleavers

: an annual bedstraw (Galium aparine) having many stalked white flowers and stems covered with curved prickles also : any of several related plants

First Known Use of cleavers

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cleavers

Middle English clivre, alteration of Old English clife burdock, cleavers; akin to Old English clifian

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cleavers

Statistics for cleavers

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cleavers

The first known use of cleavers was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on cleavers

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cleavers

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cleavers

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

Comments on cleavers

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


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!