follow Dictionary.com

How do you spell Hannukah?

cleave1

[kleev] /kliv/
verb (used without object), cleaved or (Archaic) clave; cleaved; cleaving.
1.
to adhere closely; stick; cling (usually followed by to).
2.
to remain faithful (usually followed by to):
to cleave to one's principles in spite of persecution.
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English cleven, Old English cleofian, cognate with Old High German klebēn (German kleben)
Related forms
cleavingly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
British Dictionary definitions for cleave to

cleave1

/kliːv/
verb cleaves, cleaving, cleft, cleaved, clove, cleft, cleaved, cloven
1.
to split or cause to split, esp along a natural weakness
2.
(transitive) to make by or as if by cutting: to cleave a path
3.
when intr, foll by through. to penetrate or traverse
Derived Forms
cleavable, adjective
cleavability, noun
Word Origin
Old English clēofan; related to Old Norse kljūfa, Old High German klioban, Latin glūbere to peel

cleave2

/kliːv/
verb
1.
(intransitive) foll by to. to cling or adhere
Word Origin
Old English cleofian; related to Old High German klebēn to stick
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for cleave to

cleave

v.

"to split," Old English cleofan, cleven, cliven "to split, separate" (class II strong verb, past tense cleaf, past participle clofen), from Proto-Germanic *kleubanan (cf. Old Saxon klioban, Old Norse kljufa, Danish klöve, Dutch kloven, Old High German klioban, German klieben "to cleave, split"), from PIE root *gleubh- "to cut, slice" (see glyph).

Past tense form clave is recorded in Northern writers from 14c. and was used with both verbs (see cleave (v.2)), apparently by analogy with other Middle English strong verbs. Clave was common to c.1600 and still alive at the time of the KJV; weak past tense cleaved for this verb also emerged in 14c.; cleft is still later. The past participle cloven survives, though mostly in compounds.

"to adhere," Middle English cleven, clevien, cliven, from Old English clifian, cleofian, from West Germanic *klibajanan (cf. Old Saxon klibon, Old High German kliban, Dutch kleven, Old High German kleben, German kleben "to stick, cling, adhere"), from PIE *gloi- "to stick" (see clay). The confusion was less in Old English when cleave (v.1) was a class 2 strong verb; but it has grown since cleave (v.1) weakened, which may be why both are largely superseded by stick (v.) and split (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for cleave

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for cleave

11
14
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with cleave to