\ ˈklif How to pronounce cliff (audio) \

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 How to pronounce cliffy (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

The Pelicans haven’t done enough of it, and this year was the wrong time for their winning percentage to fall off a cliff. Tim Reynolds, The Seattle Times, "Kareem: Players like Anthony Davis have value and hold power," 20 Feb. 2019 The island, with its gorgeous cliff-side views of the Atlantic, is believed to have been inhabited by a human settlement around 3,000 years ago, based on pollen evidence. Maya Mcdowell, House Beautiful, "There's a Private Island in Ireland on the Market For $1.4 Million," 22 Feb. 2019 Located on an 80-foot cliff on 1.2 acres in a South Knoxville neighborhood, the home took over a decade for Shell to build by himself; Shell worked as the designer, general contractor, project manager, and laborer. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Mies-inspired glass house could be yours for $575K," 10 Sep. 2018 The beach, which is accessible only by walking down Gate Rd. off Highway 1 south of Lobitos, had been open to surfers and locals for generations and was prized for its dagger-like rock arch and dramatic cliffs., "5 hidden beaches around Half Moon Bay," 12 July 2018 Despite taking a commanding lead in the World’s Worst Dad competition, Thanos apparently loves Gamora — just enough to throw her over a cliff. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "A Complete List of Who Lives and Dies in Avengers: Infinity War," 27 Apr. 2018 This whole thing about the lemmings flying off the cliff was staged for a documentary. Eric Johnson, Recode, "If you can quit social media, but don’t, then you’re part of the problem, Jaron Lanier says," 27 July 2018 The driver of a vehicle that plunged off a Northern California cliff last month in a fatal crash thought to have killed all eight members of the family was under the influence of alcohol, and the crash appears intentional, authorities said Friday. Hailey Branson-potts,, "Woman was under the influence when she drove car off cliff, killing family on Mendocino County coast," 13 Apr. 2018 The Woodland, Washington, mother who was driving when an SUV carrying her wife and children plunged off a California cliff last month was drunk, officials said Friday. Nina Shapiro, The Seattle Times, "Jennifer Hart was drunk when she drove SUV with family off cliff, officials say," 13 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

6 Apr 2019

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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 How to pronounce cliff (audio) \

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).


marked by a state of overwhelming emotion

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