\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

A few days ago, James posted an Instagram video of himself on vacation, jumping off a cliff into water., "If LeBron James goes to Lakers, he’ll battle Warriors for West — and California," 30 June 2018 Nowhere is the danger more acute than in a pair of contiguous districts that extend from Orange County’s Seal Beach down the Pacific coastline to the cliffs of La Jolla. Jonathan Martin,, "Democrats go all-out to avoid disaster in California House races," 26 May 2018 Already on the border of Colonialworld, this chase takes her and the creature to a cliff overlooking a sea, the landscape around looking less like the jungle and more like the desert of Utah., "Westworld Season 2, Episode 3 Recap: Machiavellian Condundrum," 7 May 2018 Authorities have said Jennifer Hart intentionally drove off the cliff. Andrew Theen,, "U.S. 101 closed south of Cannon Beach due to landslide," 13 Apr. 2018 At the Comerio school the children play precariously close to a steep cliff since the fence that once protected them is gone. Justin Madden,, "Woman stabbed to death in Cleveland, police say," 20 Mar. 2018 Lopez estimated the cliff is more than 75 feet tall in the area where the boy fell. Karen Kucher,, "Boy rescued after falling 25 feet down cliff in Carlsbad," 27 June 2018 But the ice behind it is thicker, and so that cliff is even less stable. Andrea Thompson, Scientific American, "Antarctic Quest Seeks to Predict the Fate of a Linchpin Glacier," 14 May 2018 Eight members of the Hart family are presumed dead after the family's SUV was discovered last month below a cliff on the California coast. Andrew Theen,, "Family killings in Oregon and Southwest Washington through the years," 7 Apr. 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

2 Nov 2018

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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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).


playful or foolish behavior

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