riv·​en ˈri-vən How to pronounce riven (audio)
: split apart
riven wood [=wood split apart along the grain]
: divided into pieces or factions
a riven nation
… beautifully nuanced portraits of a riven people, separated by more than an ocean.Mylène Dressler

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Early in this century the Iraq War became a defining moment for the United States, for the Republican Party, and for the conservative movement, which at first largely backed the effort, only to become riven over it later. Daniel Foster, National Review, 13 Apr. 2023 These moves have further inflamed an already deeply riven country and drawn the largest protests in over a decade. Ilan Ben Zion, Anchorage Daily News, 3 Mar. 2023 Nearly a century later, Iraq remained too riven with ethnic and sectarian frictions to support anything resembling a Western-style democracy. Loren Thompson, Forbes, 14 Apr. 2022 And in this riven piece of steel – and the nearly 500 others like it all across the country – the violence of that day lives on. CBS News, 5 Sep. 2021 Nowhere is the riven soul of industrial capitalism on starker display than in Birmingham, Alabama. Robert Kunzig, National Geographic, 13 Oct. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'riven.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1560, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of riven was circa 1560

Dictionary Entries Near riven

Cite this Entry

“Riven.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/riven. Accessed 10 Jun. 2023.

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