\ 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

check, chink, cleft, crack, cranny, crevice, fissure, split

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Examples of rift in a Sentence


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

Speaking in public for the first time since the accord was signed Sept. 22, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli revealed details of his nearly four-decade-long effort to heal the rift with China while attending a book launch event. Nicole Winfield, The Seattle Times, "Vatican negotiator reveals decades-long path to China deal," 25 Mar. 2019 Fizdale only lasted 19 games into the 2017-'18 season before being fired over a rift with Grizzlies star center Marc Gasol. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Five names surface as Bucks prepare to begin coaching search," 3 May 2018 But the 800-pound canary in the room remains that ongoing rift with Nancy. Chuck Yarborough, cleveland.com, "Heart's Ann Wilson brings solo show to the Hard Rock Rocksino," 2 Apr. 2018 Coaches and owners squirmed, wanting to support players and their cause without deepening a potentially costly rift with parts of their fan base. Andrew Lopez, NOLA.com, "Former LSU safety Eric Reid unafraid to sacrifice NFL career for his principles," 13 Mar. 2018 The need for redress provoked a profound rift within the Ethereum community. Gideon Lewis-kraus, WIRED, "The Blockchain: A Love Story—And a Horror Story," 18 June 2018 From Mike Conley's injury to the firing of coach David Fizdale following his rift with Marc Gasol, the Grizzlies' season may have actually been worse than the 22-60 record indicates. Aj Neuharth-keusch, USA TODAY, "Describing every NBA team's 2017-18 season using one word," 15 June 2018 Rumours have been surfacing over the course of the campaign that Cavani could be on his way out of the club due to his rift with Neymar. SI.com, "Edinson Cavani Surpasses Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Become PSG's Highest Ligue 1 Goal Scorer," 30 Apr. 2018 The tension between the White House and the E.P.A. over the red team, blue team idea reflects a broader rift within the administration over whether and how directly to attack climate change science itself. Lisa Friedman And Julie Hirschfeld Davis, New York Times, "The E.P.A Chief Wanted a Climate Science Debate. Trump’s Chief of Staff Stopped Him.," 9 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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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Statistics for rift

Last Updated

15 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rift

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on rift

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rift

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rift

Spanish Central: Translation of rift

Nglish: Translation of rift for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rift for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about rift

Comments on rift

What made you want to look up rift? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an act or instance of returning to life

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