\ ˈklif How to pronounce cliff (audio) \

Definition of cliff

: a very steep, vertical, or overhanging face of rock, earth, or ice : precipice

Other Words from cliff

cliffy \ ˈkli-​fē How to pronounce cliff (audio) \ adjective

Examples of cliff in a Sentence

Standing at the edge of the cliff, we watched the waves crash on the shore far below. rock climbers scaling steep cliffs
Recent Examples on the Web For the most part, Sandberg doesn’t seem to be an example of the glass cliff in action. Maria Aspan, Fortune, 8 Aug. 2022 During a visit to Ireland, the pair had some downtime on the cliff walk at Howth. Stephanie Petit, Peoplemag, 2 Aug. 2022 In a story from Norway, the daring Base Jumper scored the most spectacular good news story of the summer by leaping off a cliff in the dark with blazing flares attached to his feet and gliding to earth like a superhero. Terry Baddoo, USA TODAY, 29 July 2022 Purifoy, authorities said, drove to the end of the road, which is a dead-end street and leads to a steep cliff. Carol Robinson |, al, 28 July 2022 That would come as many of the biggest companies are confronting a looming patent cliff, meaning their blockbuster drugs will soon face competition from cheaper generics. David Wainer, WSJ, 28 July 2022 This new pool is a short taxi ride outside of Reykjavik, perched against a craggy cliff with ocean views. Katie Lockhart, CNN, 26 July 2022 In 1988 the body of Scott Johnson, a 27-year-old gay American doctoral student, was found sprawled below a cliff on a rugged beach in Sydney, Australia. Alex Weprin, The Hollywood Reporter, 26 July 2022 Parts of Carlsbad Boulevard already have been moved east at least once, and pieces of the original concrete surface can be seen along the cliff near Palomar Airport Road. Phil Diehl, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 July 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of cliff

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cliff

Middle English clif, from Old English; akin to Old High German klep cliff, Old Norse klif

Learn More About cliff

Time Traveler for cliff

Time Traveler

The first known use of cliff was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near cliff



cliff brake

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for cliff

Last Updated

12 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Cliff.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for cliff


\ ˈklif How to pronounce cliff (audio) \

Kids Definition of cliff

: a high steep surface of rock

More from Merriam-Webster on cliff

Nglish: Translation of cliff for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cliff for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about cliff


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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