\ ˈklif \

Definition of cliff

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

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Other Words from cliff

cliffy \ ˈkli-​fē \ 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

One of our hikes followed a narrow trail along a steep, rocky cliff overlooking the steel-blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean that thrashed against jagged rocks hundreds of feet below us. Doug Hansen,, "Hiking Spain's wild coast," 12 July 2018 The background of the painting depicts a view of Salisbury Crags, which are a series of cliffs in nearby Holyrood Park, reports E!. The Queen finished off her look with a white dress underneath the robe and pearl drop earrings. Isabel Greenberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "Queen Elizabeth II Has a Regal New Portrait in Scotland," 30 Nov. 2018 Now the Grinch, green and scruffy, lives with his dog Max in an isolated home carved into the side of a snowy cliff high above Whoville, a town that really loves Christmas. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Benedict Cumberbatch voices the Grinch in the new movie. It’s pretty fun!," 9 Nov. 2018 Police in Arizona on Monday retrieved the bodies of four men who were apparently killed when their ATV drove off of a 400-foot cliff and ignited a 10-acre wildfire on Saturday. Fox News, "4 bodies recovered from ATV crash that sparked Arizona wildfire," 18 Sep. 2018 Robertson père got 6,000 acres of undulating pastureland and forest atop craggy sea cliffs, one of which is home to the world’s largest mainland colony of gannets. Klara Glowczewska, Town & Country, "We Should All Just Move to New Zealand," 17 Jan. 2019 On March 26, 2018, a German tourist spots a flipped 2003 GMC Yukon XL at the foot of a steep cliff, off U.S. Highway 101 near Mendocino, California. Glamour, "Broken Harts, Episode 1: Fear," 4 Dec. 2018 Amid this picture-postcard setting—windswept rock cliffs, babbling brook—with the sound of the waves gently lapping against the shore in the background, finding a place of mental stillness is a lot less challenging. Chioma Nnadi, Vogue, "Can the New Hermès Apple Watch Actually Help You Unplug?," 19 Nov. 2018 Then hit Uluwatu temple at sunset (watch out for mischievous monkeys who steal many an iPhone!), where the views of the light fading behind the cliff will be some of the most photogenic of your trip. Alex Postman, Condé Nast Traveler, "Finding the Bali You Came For," 16 Nov. 2018

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.

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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

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Statistics for cliff

Last Updated

9 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cliff

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

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More Definitions for cliff



English Language Learners Definition of cliff

: a high, steep surface of rock, earth, or ice


\ ˈklif \

Kids Definition of cliff

: a high steep surface of rock

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More from Merriam-Webster on cliff

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cliff

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cliff

Spanish Central: Translation of cliff

Nglish: Translation of cliff for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on cliff

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


to deny responsibility for

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