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cliff

[klif] /klɪf/
noun
1.
a high steep face of a rock.
2.
a critical point or situation beyond which something bad or undesirable may occur:
The committee is right up to the cliff with no deal in sight.
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English clif, Old English, cognate with Dutch, Low German, Old Norse klif
Related forms
clifflike, adjective
Synonyms
1. bluff, promontory, ledge, crag.

Cliff

[klif] /klɪf/
noun
1.
a male given name, form of Clifford or Clifton.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for cliff
  • Now pharmaceutical firms are beginning to careen off the patent cliff.
  • If nothing makes you happier than to be scaling a cliff face, rock climb.
  • cliff himself is crying as soon as we're out the door.
  • Out came the vertebrae, pelvic bones, and-one by one-a series of ribs deeply embedded in the cliff side.
  • And with manmade ones: centuries-old rock art and cliff dwellings.
  • They embrace their experts all the way over the cliff.
  • The economies of the rich world seem to have fallen off a cliff.
  • Someone needs to be the first lemming over the cliff.
  • One mile of uphill hiking puts you behind the falls cascading off a rock cliff.
  • We're not headed down the yellow brick road, we're headed off a cliff.
British Dictionary definitions for cliff

cliff

/klɪf/
noun
1.
a steep high rock face, esp one that runs along the seashore and has the strata exposed
Derived Forms
cliffy, adjective
Word Origin
Old English clif; related to Old Norse kleif, Middle Low German klēf, Dutch klif; see cleave²
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cliff
n.

Old English clif "rock, promontory, steep slope," from Proto-Germanic *kliban (cf. Old Saxon clif, Old Norse klif, Middle Dutch klippe, Dutch klip, Old High German klep, German Klippe "cliff, promontory, steep rock").

Clift has been a variant spelling since 15c. and was common in early Modern English, influenced by or merged with clift, a variant of cleft (n.). Cliff-dweller first attested 1889, American English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for cliff

steep slope of earth materials, usually a rock face, that is nearly vertical and may be overhanging. Structural cliffs may form as the result of fault displacement or the resistance of a cap rock to uniform downcutting. Erosional cliffs form along shorelines or valley walls where the most extensive erosion takes place at the base of the slope. Because of their greater gradient, cliffs are subjected to greater erosive action and tend to retreat more rapidly than other slopes.

Learn more about cliff with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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