Thesaurus

cleave

verb

Synonyms & Antonyms of cleave

to hold to something firmly as if by adhesion
  • you should resolutely cleave to the facts in your report

Synonyms for cleave

Words Related to cleave

Near Antonyms for cleave

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About cleave

How does the verb cleave contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of cleave are adhere, cling, cohere, and stick. While all these words mean "to become closely attached," cleave stresses strength of attachment.

the wet shirt cleaved to his back

When might adhere be a better fit than cleave?

The words adhere and cleave can be used in similar contexts, but adhere is often interchangeable with stick but sometimes implies a growing together.

antibodies adhering to a virus

When is it sensible to use cling instead of cleave?

The meanings of cling and cleave largely overlap; however, cling implies attachment by hanging on with arms or tendrils.

clinging to a capsized boat

When could cohere be used to replace cleave?

The words cohere and cleave are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, cohere suggests a sticking together of parts so that they form a unified mass.

eggs will make the mixture cohere

Where would stick be a reasonable alternative to cleave?

While in some cases nearly identical to cleave, stick implies attachment by affixing or by being glued together.

couldn't get the label to stick

Learn More About cleave

Time Traveler for cleave

Time Traveler

The first known use of cleave was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast About cleave

Thesaurus Entries Near cleave

cleavages

cleave

cleaved

See More Nearby Entries 

Cite this Entry

“Cleave.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/cleave. Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on cleave

Nglish: Translation of cleave for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cleave for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!