fis·​sure | \ ˈfi-shər How to pronounce fissure (audio) \

Definition of fissure

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a narrow opening or crack of considerable length and depth usually occurring from some breaking or parting a fissure in the earth's crust
2a : a natural cleft between body parts or in the substance of an organ
b : a break or slit in tissue usually at the junction of skin and mucous membrane
3 : a separation or disagreement in thought or viewpoint : schism fissures in a political party


fissured; fissuring

Definition of fissure (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to break into fissures : cleave

Synonyms for fissure

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of fissure in a Sentence

Noun a fissure in the Earth's crust a deep fissure in the ice
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The rescuers sent a coastguard down a rope into the fissure to free the stuck pup carefully. People Staff,, 19 Apr. 2022 Instead, in the final weeks of the eruption, fractures and a new fissure system split open the side of the volcano. K.e.d. Coan, Ars Technica, 5 Apr. 2022 The dining room is insulated by walls that are nearly five and a half feet thick, and warmed by the small but functional kitchen, in which a fissure doubles as a natural extractor hood. John Malathronas, CNN, 17 Jan. 2022 Becky Anderson dissects the fissure between the allies. Nadeen Ebrahim, CNN, 23 Mar. 2022 Doalty's not talking about a fissure in some surface (the Irish for that is scoilt), nor about a sharp, loud noise (pléascadh), and certainly not about a form of cocaine. James Harbeck, The Week, 17 Mar. 2022 In that fissure, opponents of the refugees and the NGOs found ample room for attack. New York Times, 2 Mar. 2022 The Lost Daughter is a drama that spirals out from an unexpected incident — the kind of everyday mixup that, in the right hands, amounts to a clarifying fissure in the lives of all involved. K. Austin Collins, Rolling Stone, 26 Dec. 2021 Initially the fear is that the girl may have contracted the disease, but that’s only the initial fissure that triggers the demolition of their seemingly comfortable lifestyle. Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times, 29 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But where some teams fissure under the weight of unfulfilled expectations, going through that experience collectively made this group even tighter. Eric Walden, The Salt Lake Tribune, 5 June 2021 The statements made by Camille Locht and Jean-Paul Mira fed into a world already fissured by deep-rooted racial and economic discrimination. Gale Ure, Quartz Africa, 25 Apr. 2020 Even before Saturday’s major aftershock, which fissured more roads and prompted more landslides, Puerto Rico estimated damages from a 6.4-magnitude quake on Tuesday at $110 million. Patricia Mazzei, New York Times, 11 Jan. 2020 This land is made of igneous rock fissured with gold. Juliana Hanle, Scientific American, 18 Nov. 2019 An early morning alert issued by the U.S. Geological Survey reported sporadic eruptions from three Kilauea volcano fissures shooting lava 180 feet into the air. Matthew Cappucci, Washington Post, 11 June 2018 Over the past week, the lava erupting from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano fissures advanced through two small residential subdivisions along Kapoho Bay, reaching the Pacific Ocean, and wiping out nearly a hundred homes. Alan Taylor, The Atlantic, 6 June 2018 The trunk was fissured at the base, creating a seam wide enough to slip into—in other words, an absolutely perfect hiding place. David Gilbert, The New Yorker, 4 June 2017 This is far from the first time that fissures within the Republican party over immigration have been on public display. Chris Cillizza, CNN, 17 May 2018 See More

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

First Known Use of fissure


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1656, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for fissure


Middle English, borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French fissure, borrowed from Latin fissūra "splitting, crack, opening," from fissus, past participle of findere "to split, cleave" + -ūra -ure — more at bite entry 1


derivative of fissure entry 1

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The first known use of fissure was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

2 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Fissure.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for fissure


fis·​sure | \ ˈfi-shər How to pronounce fissure (audio) \

Kids Definition of fissure

: a narrow opening or crack


fis·​sure | \ ˈfish-ər, British also ˈfish-yu̇r How to pronounce fissure (audio) \

Medical Definition of fissure

1 : a natural cleft between body parts or in the substance of an organ: as
a : any of several clefts separating the lobes of the liver
b : any of various clefts between bones or parts of bones in the skull
c : any of the deep clefts of the brain especially : one of those located at points of elevation in the walls of the ventricles — compare sulcus
2 : a break or slit in tissue usually at the junction of skin and mucous membrane fissure of the lip
3 : a linear developmental imperfection in the enamel of a tooth

Other Words from fissure

fissured \ ˈfish-​ərd, British also ˈfish-​yu̇rd How to pronounce fissure (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on fissure

Nglish: Translation of fissure for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fissure for Arabic Speakers


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