\ 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 hour-and-a-half bond hearing revealed a deep rift in the Farris family. Erin Schilling, ajc, "Cherokee County woman denied bond in husband’s murder," 17 July 2019 Locals say the controversy represents a rift in the Teton Valley's demographics, as new residents move in to take jobs in the thriving eco-tourism industry. oregonlive.com, "Idaho high school drops mascot name that is disrespectful of Native Americans," 17 July 2019 The extradition bill was simply the last straw, exposing -- and deepening -- a rift in Hong Kong society than runs far deeper than a single piece of law. Jessie Yeung, CNN, "Family feuds and social media spats: The generational divide that's splitting apart Hong Kong," 9 July 2019 This could be leading to another rift in the industry as New York and Los Alamitos have said Hollendorfer can stable, train and run at their tracks. John Cherwa, latimes.com, "Santa Anita’s tragic racing season ends Sunday amid an uncertain future," 23 June 2019 Growing public disaffection and deepening rifts in the Turkish president’s coalition present an existential threat to his 16-year rule. Jason Epstein, National Review, "Whoever Wins Istanbul’s Mayoral Election, There’s Trouble Ahead for Erdogan," 22 June 2019 But the viral proposal stunt also exposes another growing rift in the public’s perception of influencers. Rebecca Jennings, Vox, "This viral “surprise” proposal shows the less glamorous side of influencing," 20 June 2019 The newlyweds moved to Frogmore Cottage before the birth of their son, Archie Harrison, in early May. But the move also came amid widespread reports of a rift between them and Prince William and Kate Middleton. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, "Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s $3 million home renovation sparks outrage over monarchy’s ‘extravagance,’ purpose," 25 June 2019 Behind the scenes there have also been difficulties between the two brothers and the two couples, culminating in reports of rifts between the once-close siblings. Simon Perry, PEOPLE.com, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry 'Have More Flexibility' in Their Charitable Work Than William and Kate," 20 June 2019

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

22 Jul 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).


something desired as essential

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