\ 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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The memoir is also, allegedly, driving an even bigger wedge in the rift between Harry and his brother Prince William. Kathleen Walsh, Glamour, 16 Sep. 2022 Garrett was vocal about the fact that Browns management didn’t consult with the players to get their input on the rift between QB1 and his star receiver. Tim Bielik, cleveland, 11 Sep. 2022 The issue, which could further widen the rift between the king and his youngest son, goes back to 1917, when King George V issued a series of protocols laying out who can use the title His or Her Royal Highness, or prince or princess. James Hookway, WSJ, 9 Sep. 2022 Of course, there's a lot more to it than that, with the frequently down-on-his-luck Johnny (William Zabka) trying to navigate his romance with Carmen (Vanessa Rubio), and the rift between his son (Tanner Buchanan) and hers (Xolo Maridueña). Brian Lowry, CNN, 9 Sep. 2022 Democrats hope the issue can also widen the rift between the GOP’s Trump and non-Trump wings, giving Democrats an opening to peel some voters away from the opposing camp. David Lauter, Los Angeles Times, 2 Sep. 2022 The rift between the former running mates broke open on Jan. 6, 2021 when Pence refused Trump's calls to overturn the election results of battleground states like Wisconsin. Corrinne Hess And Molly. Beck, Journal Sentinel, 27 July 2022 But the ongoing rift between Moscow and Washington over the Russian invasion of Ukraine and a barrage of economic restrictions seem to have accelerated the pullout. Mary Ilyushina, Washington Post, 26 July 2022 Trump and Pence both talked up the successes of their administration and hammered President Joe Biden, but neither directly addressed the other or the growing rift between them. Jonathan J. Cooper, BostonGlobe.com, 23 July 2022 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, 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 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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near rift



rift crack

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Statistics for rift

Last Updated

28 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Rift.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rift. Accessed 2 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for rift


\ 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on rift

Nglish: Translation of rift for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rift for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about rift


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