as in to rip
to cause (something) to separate into jagged pieces by violently pulling at it the bitter disappointment threatened to rive my heart in two

Synonyms & Similar Words

Synonym Chooser

How is the word rive different from other verbs like it?

Some common synonyms of rive are cleave, rend, rip, split, and tear. While all these words mean "to separate forcibly," rive occurs most often in figurative use.

a political party riven by conflict

In what contexts can cleave take the place of rive?

The words cleave and rive are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, cleave implies very forceful splitting or cutting with a blow.

a bolt of lightning cleaved the giant oak

When would rend be a good substitute for rive?

The words rend and rive can be used in similar contexts, but rend implies very violent or ruthless severing or sundering.

an angry mob rent the prisoner's clothes

Where would rip be a reasonable alternative to rive?

While the synonyms rip and rive are close in meaning, rip implies a pulling apart in one rapid uninterrupted motion often along a line or joint.

ripped the shirt on a nail

When is it sensible to use split instead of rive?

The meanings of split and rive largely overlap; however, split implies a cutting or breaking apart in a continuous, straight, and usually lengthwise direction or in the direction of grain or layers.

split logs for firewood

When might tear be a better fit than rive?

In some situations, the words tear and rive are roughly equivalent. However, tear implies pulling apart by force and leaving jagged edges.

tear up the letter

Thesaurus Entries Near rive

Cite this Entry

“Rive.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/rive. Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on rive

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