\ 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

So how did Kate and the Queen mend the rift in their relationship? Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Kate Middleton Was Reportedly Very Hurt by Queen Elizabeth's Early Criticisms of Her Lifestyle," 9 Feb. 2019 In 2013, the South Carolina government recognized some of them as the Sumter Tribe of Cheraw Indians, a step that opened a rift in the small community. Richard Fausset, New York Times, "Tracing the Roots of South Carolina’s ‘Turks,’ Before They Melt Away," 5 July 2018 Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were reportedly not present—only stoking more speculation about a growing rift between the Cambridges and Sussexes. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "How Kate Middleton Celebrated Her 37th Birthday," 14 Jan. 2019 Qualcomm has developed chipsets for Android phones that support 5G, but lawsuits and more have driven a rift between the two companies. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Apple will skip 5G in 2019, report says," 3 Dec. 2018 The protests have also exposed a rift between Merkel and top security officials. David Rising, Fox News, "German Jewish group condemns 'strongly rooted' extremism," 9 Sep. 2018 Image For the first time since a brutal border war in the late 1990s left a violent rift between Ethiopia and Eritrea, leaders of the two nations embraced on an airport tarmac on Sunday, hinting at a new era for the two countries. Selam Gebrekidan, New York Times, "Ethiopia and Eritrea, Longtime Foes, Meet for Peace Talks," 8 July 2018 The legislative investigation Hill's concerns about due process have opened an additional rift between him and other top GOP officeholders. Kaitlin Lange, Indianapolis Star, "Curtis Hill scandal threatens his future — and stability in Indiana Statehouse," 8 July 2018 His progressive campaign delivered a decisive victory Tuesday over the establishment’s candidate, emphasizing a rift between the Democrats’ left flank and the moderates who have traditionally defined the party in Maryland. Erin Cox, baltimoresun.com, "Will Ben Jealous pull Maryland Democrats together or apart?," 29 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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Statistics for rift

Last Updated

18 Mar 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).


to boil down or concentrate

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