1 [klohv]
the dried flower bud of a tropical tree, Syzygium aromaticum, of the myrtle family, used whole or ground as a spice.
the tree itself.

1175–1225; Middle English clow(e), short for clow-gilofre < Old French clou de gilofre. See clou, gillyflower Unabridged


2 [klohv]
noun Botany.
one of the small bulbs formed in the axils of the scales of a mother bulb, as in garlic.

before 1000; Middle English; Old English clufu bulb (cognate with Middle Dutch clōve, Dutch kloof); akin to cleave2


3 [klohv]
a simple past tense of cleave2.


4 [klohv]
a British unit of weight for wool, cheese, etc., usually equivalent to 8 pounds (3.6 kilograms).

1300–50; Middle English claue < Anglo-French clove, earlier clou, equivalent to Anglo-Latin clāvus, Latin: nail; see clove1


1 [kleev]
verb (used without object), cleaved or (Archaic) clave; cleaved; cleaving.
to adhere closely; stick; cling (usually followed by to ).
to remain faithful (usually followed by to ): to cleave to one's principles in spite of persecution.

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

cleavingly, adverb


2 [kleev]
verb (used with object), cleft or cleaved or clove, cleft or cleaved or cloven, cleaving.
to split or divide by or as if by a cutting blow, especially along a natural line of division, as the grain of wood.
to make by or as if by cutting: to cleave a path through the wilderness.
to penetrate or pass through (air, water, etc.): The bow of the boat cleaved the water cleanly.
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.
to part or split, especially along a natural line of division.
to penetrate or advance by or as if by cutting (usually followed by through ).

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

1. halve, rend, rive. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To clove
World English Dictionary
cleave1 (kliːv)
vb (when intr, foll by through) , cleaves, cleaving, cleft, cleaved, clove, cleft, cleaved, cloven
1.  to split or cause to split, esp along a natural weakness
2.  (tr) to make by or as if by cutting: to cleave a path
3.  to penetrate or traverse
[Old English clēofan; related to Old Norse kljūfa, Old High German klioban, Latin glūbere to peel]

cleave2 (kliːv)
vb (foll by to)
to cling or adhere
[Old English cleofian; related to Old High German klebēn to stick]

clove1 (kləʊv)
1.  a tropical evergreen myrtaceous tree, Syzygium aromaticum, native to the East Indies but cultivated elsewhere, esp Zanzibar
2.  the dried unopened flower buds of this tree, used as a pungent fragrant spice
[C14: from Old French clou de girofle, literally: nail of clove, clou from Latin clāvus nail + girofle clove tree]

clove2 (kləʊv)
any of the segments of a compound bulb that arise from the axils of the scales of a large bulb
[Old English clufu bulb; related to Old High German klovolouh garlic; see cleave1]

clove3 (kləʊv)
a past tense of cleave

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

"to split," O.E. cleofan "to split, separate" (class II strong verb, past tense cleaf, past participle clofen), from P.Gmc. *kleubanan, from PIE base *gleubh- "to cut, slice." Past tense form clave is recorded in Northern writers from 14c. and was used with both verbs (see
cleave (2)), apparently by analogy with other ME strong verbs. Common to c.1600 and still alive at the time of the King James Bible; weak p.t. cleaved also emerged in 14c. for this verb; cleft is still later. The p.p. cloven survives, though mostly in compounds.

"to adhere," O.E. clifian, from W.Gmc. *klibajanan, from PIE *gloi- "to stick." The confusion was less in O.E. when cleave (1) was a class 2 strong verb and cleave (2) a class 1 verb; but it has grown since cleave (1) weakened, which may be why both are largely superseded by stick and split.

"spice," early 13c., from O.Fr. clou (de girofle) "nail (of clove)," so called from its shape, from L. clavus "a nail" (see slot (2)).

"slice of garlic," O.E. clufu, from P.Gmc. *klubo "cleft, thing cloven."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Pin the bay leaf to the onion with the clove, and add it to the pot.
In between drags on a clove cigarette, he told me that he left his village to
  find work.
We sipped on the sorrel together, enjoying its sweetness and tartness, its
  underlying layer of cinnamon and clove.
One is a deep bronze-colored mulled cider sorbet with hints of cinnamon,
  allspice and clove.
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