American English

Definition of cleave verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Less commonly, cleft/klɛft/ and clove/kloʊv/ are used for the past tense, and cleft and cloven/kloʊvn/ for the past participle.Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they cleave
    he / she / it cleaves
    past simple cleaved
    -ing form cleaving
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  1. 1[transitive] cleave something (old-fashioned or literary) to split or cut something in two using something sharp and heavy She cleaved his skull (in two) with an ax. (figurative) His skin was cleft with deep lines.
  2. 2[intransitive, transitive] (old-fashioned or literary) to move quickly through something cleave through something a ship cleaving through the water cleave something The huge boat cleaved the darkness. to cleave a path through the traffic
  3. 3[intransitive] cleave to something/somebody (literary) to stick close to something or someone Her tongue clove to the roof of her mouth.
  4. 4[intransitive] cleave to something (formal) to continue to believe in or be loyal to something to cleave to a belief/idea
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: cleave