\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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for rift

Synonyms: Noun

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Donovan and Crowley both face primary challenges that have gained national attention and point to rifts in their parties. Arit John, Bloomberg.com, "New York Voters to Settle Intra-Party Fights for November Ballot," 26 June 2018 Magro's time on Jersey Shore: Family Vacation showed rifts in their relationship as well. refinery29.com, "Ronnie Magro's Ex & Mother Of His Child Arrested For Domestic Battery," 25 June 2018 Back in June, Fortnite was home to a spectacular rocket launch that created a dimensional rift in the sky, which led to a steady stream of map-altering changes in the game. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "Fortnite’s mysterious cube is gone, leaving behind a brand new location," 4 Nov. 2018 Intentionally or not, the billionaire Democratic activist is creating a major rift within his own party going into midterms. Bryan Anderson, sacbee, "'There's something really rotten here': Impeach Trump effort divides California Democrats," 21 June 2018 The Keeping Up with the Kardashians stars have been open about the fact that passages of Caitlyn’s 2017 memoir created a rift in the family. Karen Mizoguchi, PEOPLE.com, "Kendall Jenner Tells Caitlyn 'Happy Father's Day to the Soul That Raised Me'," 17 June 2018 The board's action created a rift over whether the expenditure should have gone to referendum for public vote, instead of being approved last year by the board. Darryl Enriquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Incumbent ousted in Oak Creek-Franklin School Board race; two newbies join policy makers," 3 Apr. 2018 Rumours circulated that a rift between Klopp and Can had been the reason behind the midfielders move to Italy, however, according to Can the relationship between the two was 'very good'. SI.com, "Emre Can Claims Silverware Was Motivation Behind Juve Move & Denies Rift With Former Boss Klopp," 9 July 2018 The rift with China is the most consequential trade conflict the administration has provoked. Author: Paul Wiseman, Josh Boakap, Anchorage Daily News, "US-China trade war elevates the risks to the global economy," 7 July 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about rift

Statistics for rift

Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rift

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!