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 But by the time Prince joined the Rangers, in 2015, the fissure had apparently healed. New York Times, 22 Nov. 2021 The new fissure that appeared Monday night is 3,000 feet north of the Cumbre Vieja ridge, where the volcano first erupted Sunday after a week of thousands of small earthquakes. Aritz Parra And Renata Brito, USA TODAY, 21 Sep. 2021 When a geological anomaly opens up an miles-deep fissure in the Earth’s surface, scientists from all over the world gather at a new research facility to study the phenomenon. Selome Hailu, Variety, 8 Dec. 2021 Hydrothermal vents form when two tectonic plates move away from each other and form a fissure at the bottom of the ocean. Elizabeth Gamillo, Smithsonian Magazine, 22 Nov. 2021 But underlying the warm greetings Friday in Rome was a tectonic fissure among the Catholic faithful in the United States that has been exacerbated by Biden’s presidency. Brian Bennett, Time, 29 Oct. 2021 In early May, a fissure known merely as Vent 5 transformed into a spectacular fire geyser, shooting lava as high as a thousand feet into the air. Heidi Julavit, The New Yorker, 16 Aug. 2021 Heavy rains resulted in a sinkhole and a fissure opening up in the road, found just north of Cannon Beach, the state parks department said. oregonlive, 22 Nov. 2021 Mark Dickey, chief of the New Jersey Initial Response Team, described Liza as stuck in a tight vertical fissure that led to an even tighter horizontal crack. Joseph Spector, USA TODAY, 14 Oct. 2021 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

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.

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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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Time Traveler for fissure

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

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Last Updated

14 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Fissure.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for fissure



English Language Learners Definition of fissure

: a narrow opening or crack


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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