There are 2 main definitions of cleave in English:

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cleave1

Syllabification: cleave
Pronunciation: /klēv
 
/

verb (past clove /klōv/ or cleft /kleft/ or cleaved /klēvd;/ past participle cloven /ˈklōvən/ or cleft or cleaved)

[with object]
1Split or sever (something), especially along a natural line or grain: the large ax his father used to cleave wood for the fire
More example sentences
  • He swung the mighty blade with one arm cleaving the ground and splitting the tiles around it.
  • As we all know, this issue has caused massive issues for the party internally, this divide cleaves the party right down to its lowest level.
  • Especially around Washington, it was inevitable that speculation about the identity of the killer would cleave along ideological lines.
Synonyms
split (open), cut (up), hew, hack, chop up
literary rive
1.1Split (a molecule) by breaking a particular chemical bond.
Example sentences
  • The only function for renin is to cleave a 10-amino acid peptide from the N-terminal end of angiotensinogen.
  • Biogen 1 discloses that the way to do it is to choose the restriction enzymes likely to cleave the Dane particle DNA into the largest fragments.
  • These are the properties expected of mutants lacking an enzyme that cleaves joint molecules.
1.2Make a way through (something) forcefully, as if by splitting it apart: they watched a coot cleave the smooth water Stan was off, cleaving a path through the traffic [no object]: an unstoppable warrior clove through their ranks
More example sentences
  • Seres disappeared into the fray, a pair of short blades cleaving a path through the enemy that had rushed into the clearing.
  • Like an icicle being stepped on, the iceberg split into pieces as the bombs ripped through it, fire cleaving a line clean through the middle.
  • A thundering, prehistoric steam engine cleaves the crowd, whistle screaming, a velvet column billowing into the dark.
Synonyms
plow, drive, bulldoze, carve
1.3 [no object] Biology (Of a cell) divide: the egg cleaves to form a mulberry-shaped cluster of cells
More example sentences
  • A metazoan body develops as the egg cleaves into cells that then proliferate in a branching pattern of mitoses to produce a cell tree.
  • As the egg cleaves, the amount of cytoplasm does not increase, but the amount of DNA does.
  • FDA can pass through the cell membrane whereupon intracellular esterases cleave off the diacetate group.

Origin

Old English clēofan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch klieven and German klieben.

Derivatives

cleavable

1
adjective
Example sentences
  • For instance, the phage repressors from λ, P22, phage 434 or Φ80 all contain a cleavable internal site within the C-terminal domain.
  • The cleavable complex is not thought to collapse spontaneously and is fully reversible.
  • Spiroff reports cleavable masses of black calcite, with the color probably due to inclusions of chalcocite or tenorite.

Definition of cleave in:

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There are 2 main definitions of cleave in English:

Share this entry

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cleave2

Syllabification: cleave
Pronunciation: /klēv
 
/

verb

[no object] (cleave to) literary
1Stick fast to: Rose’s mouth was dry, her tongue cleaving to the roof of her mouth
More example sentences
  • However applications still cleave to simple two-dimensional metaphors.
  • The other road, my father's favourite, cleaves to the coast round Torr Head.
  • The music just cleaved to the story; it belongs to the images like nothing else I've ever tried to do.
1.1Adhere strongly to (a particular pursuit or belief): part of why we cleave to sports is that excellence is so measurable
More example sentences
  • Nobody gets points for being virtuous and cleaving to fidelity when there are no opportunities to do otherwise.
  • It struck a chord with one of the superstore's workers, who cleaves to anonymity presumably to cleave to her job.
  • I concluded that I rather regret not having completely cleaved to the letter of the law.
Synonyms
stick (fast), adhere, be attached
1.2Become very strongly involved with or emotionally attached to (someone): it was his choice to cleave to the Brownings
More example sentences
  • She cleaves to whichever man is available and is unable to face the idea of being alone even if the alternative is constant verbal abuse and physical rejection.
  • For this cause shall a man leave father and mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh.
  • Ruth cleaves to Naomi and returns with her to Bethlehem, while Orpha remains in Moab.

Origin

Old English cleofian, clifian, clīfan; related to Dutch kleven and German kleben, also to clay and climb.

Definition of cleave in:

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