\ 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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun How, though, to heal the rift with Agnelli, whose daughter Ceferin is godfather to? Rob Harris, ajc, "How UEFA president Ceferin crushed a Super League rebellion," 24 Apr. 2021 How, though, to heal the rift with Agnelli, whose daughter Ceferin is godfather to? Rob Harris, Star Tribune, "How UEFA president Ceferin crushed a Super League rebellion," 24 Apr. 2021 Public opinion is another factor likely driving the growing rift with the GOP. The Conversation, "Why corporate America appears to be drifting away from the Republican Party," 22 Apr. 2021 Jordan's King Abdullah said on Wednesday sedition has been quashed after a rift with his half-brother and former heir Prince Hamza, whom the government had accused of links to efforts destabilize the country. NBC News, "Jordan's King Abdullah says sedition quashed, country stable," 8 Apr. 2021 Asked about the ensuing rift with the police chief, Hood responded by venting frustration over past media coverage. Emilie Eaton, San Antonio Express-News, "Arrest of San Antonio fire chief's youngest son leads to a rift between top city leaders," 24 Mar. 2021 Dani Dayan, another former Likud member who joined Saar’s slate of candidates, said Saar would do much to heal the rift with Democrats that Netanyahu created. Washington Post, "As Israelis head back to elections, there’s a new twist: Democrats in Washington," 16 Mar. 2021 Misunderstandings may create a rift with a loved one. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for March 9, 2021: Taurus, set high goals; Capricorn, stay calm, carry on," 9 Mar. 2021 In addition to the shocking claims above, Harry mentioned a rift with his father, Prince Charles, who had stopped taking his calls, and a fractured relationship with his brother, Prince William. Chris Morris, Fortune, "Oprah’s CBS interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry drew in 17.1 million viewers," 8 Mar. 2021 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, "From Sudan to Hong Kong to Chile, what it was like to be one of the protesters of 2019," 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, "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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Time Traveler for rift

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for rift

Last Updated

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rift.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rift. Accessed 13 May. 2021.

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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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