\ 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

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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 There has been a big rift in my family since the 2016 election. Amy Dickinson, The Denver Post, "Ask Amy: Aspiring lawyer rests his case," 3 Sep. 2019 There has been a big rift in my family since the 2016 election. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, "Aspiring lawyer rests his case," 3 Sep. 2019 Their popularity has opened a deep rift in Germany, with SUV owners put on the defensive by opponents who say the vehicles are an affront to national values of practicality and environmental awareness. Los Angeles Times, "SUVs have made a startling rise in Germany. Now comes the backlash," 14 Sep. 2019 The disaster doused the planet with toxic Red Matter and opened a rift to the astral realm. Gieson Cacho, The Mercury News, "Review: ‘Astral Chain’ challenges players by pushing boundaries of action game," 13 Sep. 2019 The whole thing gives the impression of a tragedy having just occurred, one that has caused a rift between the two main characters. Chris Thilk, The Hollywood Reporter, "Lionsgate Bets on Durability of 'Angel Has Fallen' to Keep Franchise Going," 23 Aug. 2019 Most obviously, this will further open the rift between Israel and the Democratic Party. Michael J. Koplow, The New Republic, "Israel’s Decision to Ban U.S. Congresswomen Is Self-Defeating," 15 Aug. 2019 But emotion appeared to trump reason on Monday to reveal a rift between hyper-competitors who separately claimed the title of No. Kyle Fredrickson, The Denver Post, "Tensions boil over at Broncos camp as Courtland Sutton, Emmanuel Sanders scuffle," 5 Aug. 2019 Reparations could expose rifts between frontrunners Warren, Harris, Sanders, and Biden. Mark Dent, Fortune, "Abortion, Reparations, Israel: What to Watch for During the Second Democratic Debate," 30 July 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

11 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for rift

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

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More Definitions for rift


How to pronounce rift (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rift

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

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