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cleft1

[kleft] /klɛft/
noun
1.
a space or opening made by cleavage; a split.
2.
a division formed by cleaving.
3.
a hollow area or indentation:
a chin with a cleft.
4.
Veterinary Pathology. a crack on the bend of the pastern of a horse.
Origin
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English clift, Old English (ge)clyft split, cracked; cognate with Old High German, Old Norse kluft; akin to cleave2
Synonyms
1. fissure, crevice, crack, rift, cranny, chasm, crevasse.

cleft2

[kleft] /klɛft/
verb
1.
a simple past tense and past participle of cleave2 .
adjective
2.
cloven; split; divided.
3.
(of a leaf, corolla, lobe, or other expanded plant part) having divisions formed by incisions or narrow sinuses that extend more than halfway to the midrib or the base.
Origin
see cleft1

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
before 900; Middle English cleven, Old English cleofian, cognate with Old High German klebēn (German kleben)
Related forms
cleavingly, adverb

cleave2

[kleev] /kliv/
verb (used with object), cleft or cleaved or clove, cleft or cleaved or cloven, cleaving.
1.
to split or divide by or as if by a cutting blow, especially along a natural line of division, as the grain of wood.
2.
to make by or as if by cutting:
to cleave a path through the wilderness.
3.
to penetrate or pass through (air, water, etc.):
The bow of the boat cleaved the water cleanly.
4.
to cut off; sever:
to cleave a branch from a tree.
verb (used without object), cleft or cleaved or clove, cleft or cleaved or cloven, cleaving.
5.
to part or split, especially along a natural line of division.
6.
to penetrate or advance by or as if by cutting (usually followed by through).
Origin
before 950; Middle English cleven, Old English clēofan, cognate with Old High German klioban (German klieben), Old Norse kljūfa; akin to Greek glýphein to carve, Latin glūbere to peel
Synonyms
1. halve, rend, rive.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for cleft
  • The cleft palate is a common and serious birth defect, but you don't hear much about it.
  • His cleft chin and blue eyes gave him the looks of a movie-star, though one who had commanded troops and led uprisings.
  • Astrocytes have special proteins in their membranes which actively remove neurotransmitters from the synaptic cleft.
  • Variations in size or structure of either jaw may affect its shape, as can birth defects such as cleft lip and palate.
  • It also heals almost instantaneously from wounds from bullets, rocket launchers, even being cleft in two.
  • Repairing a cleft lip or palate in the developed world is rather low risk and deaths are rare.
  • We hiked up into the canyon to a date palm oasis at the bottom of a narrow cleft in the limestone.
  • Inborn structural abnormalities, such as cleft palate, increase risk.
  • Twin boys, each with a cleft mouth, race toy trucks along the cement.
  • Although that goal proves elusive, the film will still leave you dazzled with its vision of a beautiful world cleft by disaster.
British Dictionary definitions for cleft

cleft

/klɛft/
verb
1.
the past tense and a past participle of cleave1
noun
2.
a fissure or crevice
3.
an indentation or split in something, such as the chin, palate, etc
adjective
4.
split; divided
5.
(of leaves) having one or more incisions reaching nearly to the midrib
Word Origin
Old English geclyft (n); related to Old High German kluft tongs, German Kluft gap, fissure; see cleave1

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
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Word Origin and History for cleft
n.

1570s, alteration (by influence of cleft, new weak past participle of cleave (v.1)), of Middle English clift (early 14c.), from Old English geclyft (adj.) "split, cloven," from Proto-Germanic *kluftis (cf. Old High German and German kluft, Danish kløft "cleft"), from PIE *gleubh- (see glyph). In Middle English anatomy, it meant "the parting of the thighs" (early 14c.).

adj.

late 14c., past participle adjective from cleave (v.1)). Cleft palate attested from 1828.

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
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cleft in Medicine

cleft (klěft)
n.
A split or fissure between two parts.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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