noun, plural cleavers.
a North American plant, Galium aparine, of the madder family, having short, hooked bristles on the stems and leaves and bearing very small white flowers.
any of certain related species.
Also, clivers.
Also called catchweed, goose grass.

before 1000; Middle English clivre, Old English clife burdock (-re probably by association with Middle English clivres (plural) claws, or with the agent noun from cleven to cleave1, whence the modern spelling) Unabridged


a heavy, broad-bladed knife or long-bladed hatchet, especially one used by butchers for cutting meat into joints or pieces.
a person or thing that cleaves.

1325–75; Middle English clevere. See cleave2, -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
cleaver (ˈkliːvə)
a heavy knife or long-bladed hatchet, esp one used by butchers

cleavers (ˈkliːvəz)
(functioning as singular) goosegrass, hairif, Also called: sticky willie a Eurasian rubiaceous plant, Galium aparine, having small white flowers and prickly stems and fruits
[Old English clīfe; related to clīfan to cleave²]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

late 15c., "one who splits," from cleave (1). Meaning "butcher's chopper" is from 1580.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
cleaver   (klē'vər)  Pronunciation Key 
A bifacial stone tool flaked to produce a straight, sharp, relatively wide edge at one end. Cleavers are early core tools associated primarily with the Acheulian tool culture.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Robbers threatened staff with meat cleavers during an armed robbery at a designer clothes shop.
Especially when he tosses those meat cleavers around.
The whapping is the sound of meat cleavers coming down on the heads of live turtles and frogs.
Store knives, saws, and cleavers in a designated storage area when not in use.
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