cleft

1 of 2

noun

1
: a space or opening made by or as if by splitting : fissure
2
: a usually V-shaped indented formation : a hollow between ridges or protuberances
the anal cleft of the human body

cleft

2 of 2

adjective

: partially split or divided
specifically : divided about halfway to the midrib
a cleft leaf

Examples of cleft in a Sentence

Noun The river begins as a trickle of water from a cleft in the rock. He has a distinctive cleft in his chin.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
As Griner’s new cleft team settled in, their worries mounted. Megan Rose, ProPublica, 6 Mar. 2024 In general, the cause of a cleft is not well understood. Megan Rose, ProPublica, 6 Mar. 2024 Smoking while pregnant can promote premature delivery, stillbirth, ectopic pregnancy, orofacial clefts, and low birth weight. Bryant Stamford, The Courier-Journal, 8 Feb. 2024 But always the Water Gap—a narrow cleft, a deep dark place, spooky, yet so beautiful; spookiest and most beautiful right at dusk, with darkness coming in over darkness. Rick Bass, Field & Stream, 22 Nov. 2023 The show was hosted in tandem with and to benefit Smile Train, an international charitable organization that fundraises and advocates for clefts. Julia Moore, Peoplemag, 21 Oct. 2023 Cilla had already planned her farewell hike the next day on trails leading into the deep cleft in the rocky landscape. David Lyon, BostonGlobe.com, 15 Sep. 2023 The loss of facial fat left my chin looking much less smooth and my cleft more prominent. Taryn Brooke, Allure, 9 Oct. 2023 Scientists know that smoking, diabetes and certain medicines used to treat epilepsy can boost a parent’s risk of having a baby with a cleft. Alex Orlando, Discover Magazine, 15 Nov. 2021
Adjective
Successful cleft treatment repairs those issues, leaving patients’ faces with little evidence of their cleft issues by the time they are grown. Megan Rose, ProPublica, 6 Mar. 2024 Advertisement When infinitives are cleft, some folks, regardless of actual profession, become exercised. Richard Lederer, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6 Jan. 2024 One of the signs of the condition is the formation of branchial cleft cysts. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, 3 Jan. 2024 For her part, Ms. Robin has been busy promoting Pakistani fashion, quoting the Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai on social media, and advocating for Smile Train, a charity that sponsors cleft operations in Pakistan and beyond. Hasan Ali, The Christian Science Monitor, 15 Nov. 2023 Operation Smile operates as a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization that provides life-improving cleft surgery, dentistry, orthodontics, speech therapy and psychological services. 'smitty' Robert J. Smith, Forbes, 13 Nov. 2023 The medical term for this type of dimple is a cleft chin. Taryn Brooke, Allure, 9 Oct. 2023 In the El Sidrón remains, the congenital features included cleft or asymmetric vertebrae, a misshapen kneecap and a baby tooth retained into adulthood. Bridget Alex, Discover Magazine, 23 Feb. 2019 After a few weeks, something caught my attention: Instagram was consistently recommending posts of babies with cleft palates, a birth defect. Geoffrey A. Fowler, Washington Post, 12 May 2022

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English clift, from Old English geclyft; akin to Old English clēofan to cleave

Adjective

Middle English, from past participle of cleven

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cleft was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near cleft

Cite this Entry

“Cleft.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cleft. Accessed 25 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

cleft

1 of 2 noun
1
: a space or opening made by splitting : crevice
2
: a hollow resembling a cleft

cleft

2 of 2 adjective
: partially split or divided
a cleft wood

Medical Definition

cleft

noun
1
: a usually abnormal fissure or opening especially when resulting from failure of parts to fuse during embryonic development
2
: a usually V-shaped indented formation : a hollow between ridges or protuberances
the anal cleft of the human body
3
: the hollow space between the two branches of the frog or the frog and bars or between the bulbs of the heel of a horse's hoof
4
: a crack on the bend of the pastern of a horse
5
: a division of the cleft foot of an animal
6

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