\ 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

After taking over at Taylor County, Belser created a rift between himself and the players and some of the assistant coaches. Khadrice Rollins, SI.com, "Florida High School Football Coach Quits Following Player Protest Over His Tactics," 19 Aug. 2019 Given that Michael is the youngest, and given Fredo’s insecurity, this creates a rift between the two brothers. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "CNN’s Chris Cuomo said “Fredo” is like “the n-word” for Italians. It’s … not.," 13 Aug. 2019 This created a rift, the source said, that impeded planning and led to high employee turnover. Jessica Gelt, Los Angeles Times, "With the Academy Museum director out, big questions about what happens next," 6 Aug. 2019 Her story, which spans decades, traces an American intervention in the West African nation of Burkina Faso, revealing rifts in her conception of self—and in the project of black diasporic solidarity. The Atlantic, "What We’re Reading This Summer," 28 June 2019 The Kardashian sisters, as well as Kris, have been open about the fact that passages of Caitlyn’s 2017 memoir, The Secrets of My Life, created a rift in the family. Maria Pasquini, PEOPLE.com, "Caitlyn Jenner Gives Shout-Out 'To All the Dads in My Life,' But Leaves Out Tristan Thompson," 16 June 2019 Koehler, Ward’s lead attorney, took exception, saying that Ford’s public criticism was creating a rift between her and Ward. Megan Crepeau, chicagotribune.com, "Judge bars playing entire statement of suspect in Hadiya Pendleton's slaying, gutting its case, defense says," 11 July 2018 Yet the plan has created a rift between Germany and its eastern neighbours. The Economist, "Power struggleEurope tries to lead the way on clean energy," 15 Mar. 2018 That was just days after an audit singled out Ham in detailing a rift within the ranks of those responsible for rooting out fraud. Ryan Faircloth, Twin Cities, "DHS gets interim inspector general while MN investigates boss," 29 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

17 Sep 2019

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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).


readily or continually undergoing change

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