\ 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 For Mercedes, the personal rift is with her mother, a religious zealot who both condemns her daughter’s work and extorts her for money to throw at various church endeavors. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "The Prestige Drama Where Strippers Run the Show," 5 Sep. 2020 The rift between Washington and local health officials has grown since the beginning of the pandemic. John Tozzi, Bloomberg.com, "Trump’s Pre-Election Goal for a Vaccine Has States on Edge," 4 Sep. 2020 Over the last two years, that rift has grown deeper and more personal. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Why Matt Drudge’s Feud With Donald Trump Matters," 3 Sep. 2020 The open oppression of the last week has thrown the rift between Belarus and democratic governments into dramatic relief. Joel Gehrke, Washington Examiner, "Brutal Belarus crackdown sets back US effort to pry nation from Russia’s orbit," 15 Aug. 2020 At the same time, the actions of federal agents threaten to widen the rift between residents and local officers, explains Dave Franco, a 30-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department who retired in January. Martin Kuz, The Christian Science Monitor, "Two cities, a spike in crime, and the federal response," 5 Aug. 2020 The letter reveals the rift between university administrators who have been plowing ahead with plans to stage football games and the young athletes tasked with playing a contact sport during a global pandemic. Laine Higgins, WSJ, "Pac-12 Football Players Threaten to Sit Out Amid Pandemic, Inequality Concerns," 2 Aug. 2020 Nigeria increased its contributions amid the rift to become the largest shareholder with a 16.8% stake, followed by Germany with 7.4% and the U.S. with 5.5%. Leanne De Bassompierre, Bloomberg.com, "African Bank Chief Set for Re-Election After Governance Test," 29 Aug. 2020 Houck, a writer and quilter in Brooklyn, N.Y., who usually spends a half-hour a day on his moderation duties, started losing sleep and felt nauseated over the rift. Washington Post, "Burnout, splinter factions and deleted posts: Unpaid online moderators struggle to manage divided communities," 25 Aug. 2020 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

15 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Rift.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rift. Accessed 21 Sep. 2020.

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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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