\ 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

The friction led to a rift between Shulkin and White House officials. chicagotribune.com, "How a Koch-backed veterans group gained influence in Trump's Washington," 8 Apr. 2018 Questions surrounding who was responsible for allowing the three-year enforcement lapse has led to a rift between the head of the city's Building Department, Luis Sainz, and his boss, Frank Parra, the city’s Director of Emergency Services. Gustavo Solis, sandiegouniontribune.com, "National City councilman finally files plans to correct 5-year-old building violations," 3 Apr. 2018 Also Monday, the rift between Russia and the United States over how to resolve the crisis in Venezuela widened following the arrival of Russian military personnel to support Maduro. Fabiola Sanchez, The Seattle Times, "Large new blackouts strike Venezuelan capital, provinces," 26 Mar. 2019 Once upon a time, there was a rumor of a rift between Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson (which, decades later, Fergie is still contesting), and more recently, between Markle and Kate Middleton. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Priyanka Chopra Is Not Here for Those Meghan Markle Feud Rumors," 25 Mar. 2019 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

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

13 May 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

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something valued as if it were money

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