- an opening made by splitting, cleaving, etc.; fissure; cleft; chink.
- an open space, as in a forest or cloud mass, or a clear interval.
- a break in friendly relations: a rift between two people; a rift between two nations.
- a difference in opinion, belief, or interest that causes such a break in friendly relations.
- a fault.
- a graben of regional extent.
- the plane or direction along which a log or mass of granite can most easily be split.
- wood or a piece of wood that has been split radially from a log.
verb (used with or without object)
- to burst open; split.
- a gap or space made by cleaving or splitting; fissure
- geology a long narrow zone of faulting resulting from tensional stress in the earth’s crust
- a gap between two cloud masses; break or chinkhe saw the sun through a rift in the clouds
- a break in friendly relations between people, nations, etc
- to burst or cause to burst open; split
- a shallow or rocky part in a stream
- the backwash from a wave that has just broken
early 14c., “a split, act of splitting,” from a Scandinavian source (cf. Danish and Norwegian rift “a cleft,” Old Icelandic ript (pronounced “rift”) “breach;” related to Old Norse ripa “to break a contract” (see riven). Figurative use from 1620s. Geological sense from 1921. As a verb, c.1300.
- A continental rift.
- A narrow break, crack, or other opening in a rock, usually made by cracking or splitting.