\ˈrift \

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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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

During that time in Uruguay, the U.S. Soccer Federation caused a rift by not paying all the players equally or fairly, a decision that was delivered on the plane during the flight to South America. Joe Knowles, chicagotribune.com, "Roger Bennett on 'American Fiasco,' the state of U.S. soccer and the 'siren call' of Chicago," 27 June 2018 Yet his top diplomat, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, downplayed the severity of the rift. Ken Thomas, The Seattle Times, "Trump takes more swipes at Canada after arrival in Singapore," 11 June 2018 However, recent reports have suggested the Mourinho is unwilling to entertain offers for his number six this summer, despite rumours of a rift between the pair. SI.com, "Paulo Dybala Reveals Rumours of Paul Pogba Return to Juventus Make Him 'Very Happy'," 9 June 2018 At the meeting, Sadler accused Schlapp, her boss, of leaking the material, causing a rift between the two. Margaret Hartmann, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump Aide Who Joked About ‘Dying’ McCain Is Out – But White House Still Isn’t Sorry," 6 June 2018 In an interview with the British newspaper The Sun, Trump injected himself into a British political landscape still feeling the aftershocks of a cabinet shakeup fueled by a growing rift over Brexit. USA TODAY, "Live stream: President and Melania Trump arrive to meet the Queen," 12 July 2018 Image With a rift over migrants bringing German politics to a boil, the country’s feuding leaders scraped together a truce Monday on an issue that threatens to topple the fragile government. New York Times, "As Europe’s Liberal Order Splinters, Trump Wields an Ax," 18 June 2018 Trump's comment came moments after Merkel sidestepped a major political crisis by securing more time to resolve a coalition rift over border controls. NBC News, "Trump takes aim at Merkel over immigration, crime in Germany," 18 June 2018 Pompeo played down the rift over Trump's behavior during and after last week's Group of Seven summit in Canada, which left allies shocked and dismayed. Philip Rucker, chicagotribune.com, "Secretary of State Pompeo on Trump's diplomatic crisis: 'There are always irritants in relationships'," 11 June 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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Phrases Related to rift

heal the rift/breach

Statistics for rift

Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

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 \

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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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).


one that holds something together

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