Definition of cleft noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



BrE BrE//kleft//
; NAmE NAmE//kleft//
see also cleave
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a natural opening or crack, for example in the ground or in rock, or in a person’s chin a cleft in the rocks They walked up a cleft in the hills. the cleft in his chin Word Originnoun Middle English clift: of Germanic origin; related to Dutch kluft and German Kluft, also to cleave ‘to split something in two’. The form of the word was altered in the 16th cent. by association with cleft, the past participle of ‘cleave’.