\ 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

Evidence of weakening consumer spending can also be seen in consumption-tax revenue, which fell off a cliff in October, plummeting 61.6% from a year earlier and then dropped 71.2% in November. Wsj Graphics, WSJ, "Apple Warning: Seven Charts That Show the Pressure on China’s Consumers," 2 Jan. 2019 Then Jen drove her, Jen, and half their kids off a cliff, killing them all. Libby Nelson, Vox, "Vox Sentences: Soft fascism, firm backlash," 18 Dec. 2018 Auto sales, for example, have already fallen off a cliff. Jacky Wong, WSJ, "Weibo Continues to Show Twitter the Way," 29 Nov. 2018 With all 32 cores running, performance goes off a cliff. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "How the 32-core Ryzen Threadripper is suddenly a lot better at gaming," 12 Sep. 2018 In that same time period, the share of Nike shoes made in China fell off a cliff, going from 32 percent in 2012 to 19 percent in 2017. Cam Wolf, GQ, "Nike and Adidas Are Moving Away from Manufacturing in China," 16 May 2018 But the bad news for Bell and any potential future suitors is this will leave him only about a season away from the cliff that running backs typically experience after 2,400 career touches. Michael Salfino, WSJ, "The Bell Tolls in Pittsburgh," 18 July 2018 LeBron James posted a video of himself jumping off a cliff while on a Caribbean vacation with his family. Tom Withers,, "LeBron James weighing many options as free agency looms," 30 June 2018 As the buildup to free agency intensified, James posted a video on Instagram of him and his son, Bronny, jumping off a cliff into a body of water. Tania Ganguli,, "Uncertainty continues for the Lakers as free agency looms," 29 June 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

12 Jan 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).


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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