1 of 2


: a clear space or interval


2 of 2


rifted; rifting; rifts

intransitive verb

: to burst open

transitive verb

: cleave, divide
hills were rifted by the earthquake

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Despite the rift that's formed between them, Kyle claimed that Mauricio, 53, would never say no to his work. Esther Kang, Peoplemag, 15 Feb. 2024 These include workplace communication rifts, navigating the implementation of the hybrid work model, finding innovative approaches to strengthening employee engagement, and adjusting to the new norm of AI (artificial intelligence). Rachel Wells, Forbes, 14 Feb. 2024 But in recent months, that picture radically altered as Jokowi appeared to shift closer to Mr. Prabowo amid reports of a rift between the president and PDI-P chairwoman Megawati Sukarnoputri. Kate Lamb, The Christian Science Monitor, 13 Feb. 2024 The story of the Angelos family’s legacy with the Orioles is a complicated one, blending civic pride with long stretches of abysmal baseball, sharp business decisions with baffling public relations missteps and a 2022 lawsuit that exposed personal rifts. Childs Walker, Baltimore Sun, 1 Feb. 2024 The bills, which would force police officers to document more of their interactions with the public and would end solitary confinement in city jails, have opened a bitter rift between Mr. Adams and Democratic leaders in the City Council. Dana Rubinstein, New York Times, 30 Jan. 2024 Since Bryce also has the remnants of the Horn—a Fae relic able to open rifts between worlds—tattooed into her back, the Asteri were planning to use Bryce to return to that world, where they were once overthrown, and conquer it anew. Megan McCluskey, TIME, 2 Feb. 2024 Perhaps the most serious disagreement in the rift between Zelensky and Zaluzhny was the general’s request to mobilize more soldiers. David L. Stern, Washington Post, 1 Feb. 2024 Additionally, former President Trump is hoping to capitalize on the growing rift between the Black community and Biden. Rayna Reid Rayford, Essence, 30 Jan. 2024
However, the supercontinent began to rift and splinter in the late Triassic about 230 million years ago. Gabe Allen, Discover Magazine, 15 Sep. 2022 The police, unsurprisingly, started to fire tear gas canisters again, trying to rift and wedge the fleeing protesters. Quartz Staff, Quartz, 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, 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, 15 Mar. 2017 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'rift.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


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


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

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

Dictionary Entries Near rift

Cite this Entry

“Rift.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rift. Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: an opening made by splitting or separation : cleft
: a normal geological fault
: a break in friendly relations : breach


2 of 2 verb

More from Merriam-Webster on rift

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