\ ˈrift How to pronounce rift (audio) \

Definition of rift

 (Entry 1 of 2)

2 : a clear space or interval


rifted; rifting; rifts

Definition of rift (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to burst open

transitive verb

1 : cleave, divide hills were rifted by the earthquake
2 : penetrate

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Synonyms for rift

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of rift in a Sentence

Noun The fight will only widen the rift with his brother. the rift in the rock We could see some stars through the rifts in the clouds. Scientists are studying the Mid-Atlantic Rift.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This geographic rift effectively severed the last remaining strand of the human phosphorus cycle. Julia Rosen, The Atlantic, "We Broke Phosphorus," 8 Feb. 2021 Now, immigration advocates say President Joe Biden will have to act to implement policies to undo that rift. NBC News, "How Biden can undo the divisions Trump deepened in immigrant communities," 1 Feb. 2021 The lawsuit filed by the Attorney General of the State of New York seeks to dissolve the group, and a rift has opened between former executives, like Oliver North, who appear to be co-operating with the probe, and those still loyal to LaPierre. Mario Ariza, sun-sentinel.com, "NRA tax filing discloses Marion Hammer shouldn’t been paid hundreds of thousands, report says," 26 Nov. 2020 It has been found that the rift system extends further down to the island of Madagascar which is also currently slowly breaking apart. Uwagbale Edward-ekpu, Quartz Africa, "Scientists say this African island nation is slowly breaking up into smaller islands," 17 Nov. 2020 But a damaging rift in IndyCar racing 25 years ago spoiled the earning potential for decades. Jerry Garrett, New York Times, "For Some Veteran Stars, NASCAR’s Appeal Is Fading," 3 Nov. 2020 And despite embarrassing shortages of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Europe that created a rift with the company, countries are still counting on it, all the more so because Pfizer shipments have also been smaller than expected. New York Times, "New Vaccine Puzzle: Who Should Get Which Shot?," 3 Feb. 2021 Trump's failure to support Pence may have created a rift. Katherine Doyle, Washington Examiner, "Trump's treatment of Pence angers conservatives," 11 Jan. 2021 Indiana created a stir by removing Big Ten logos from their uniforms before the Outback Bowl, sparking speculation of a rift between the Hoosiers and the conference after the team did not receive a berth in a New Year’s Six game. BostonGlobe.com, "Texas fires football coach Tom Herman, then hires Steve Sarkisian away from Alabama," 2 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The police, unsurprisingly, started to fire tear gas canisters again, trying to rift and wedge the fleeing protesters. Quartz Staff, Quartz, "From Sudan to Hong Kong to Chile, what it was like to be one of the protesters of 2019," 28 Dec. 2019 Collectively, the two plates are also rifting away from the Arabian Plate, which already separates Africa from the Middle East. Susmita Baral, Teen Vogue, "Scientists Explain What That Giant Crack in Kenya's Great Rift Valley Means for Africa," 13 Apr. 2018 That is, for fall, alongside rifted-upon replicas of archival pieces, Balenciaga sent out tote bags in fuchsia taffeta and feathers to match the flouncy dresses. Chelsea Peng, Marie Claire, "Would You Ever Carry an Evening *Tote* Bag?," 15 Mar. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rift.' 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 rift


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for rift


Middle English, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Danish & Norwegian rift fissure, Old Norse rīfa to rive — more at rive

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Time Traveler for rift

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for rift

Last Updated

24 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rift.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rift. Accessed 27 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for rift



English Language Learners Definition of rift

: a situation in which two people, groups, etc., no longer have a friendly relationship
: a deep crack or opening in the ground, a rock, etc.
geology : a break in the Earth's crust


\ ˈrift How to pronounce rift (audio) \

Kids Definition of rift

1 : an opening made by splitting or separation : cleft a rift in the ice
2 : a break in friendly relations A misunderstanding caused a rift within the family.

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