Definition of rift in English:


Line breaks: rift
Pronunciation: /rɪft


  • 1A crack, split, or break in something: the wind had torn open a rift in the clouds
    More example sentences
    • For some at least, this recognition would produce a psychological rift, a split subjectivity imploding with the violent impact of sameness.
    • Savarics Uzumaki finished the staff and opened the dimensional rifts to allow passage into a new home for demons.
    • Disagreement over economic policy opened ideological rifts among Iran's ruling elite.
  • 1.1 Geology A major fault separating blocks of the earth’s surface; a rift valley.
    More example sentences
    • Extension associated with lengthening of the Himalayan collision orogen is accommodated by small graben and rifts almost at right angles to the strike of the collision zone.
    • The major rift eventually developed west of Scotland (present orientation).
    • Dextral slip was not responsible for opening most of the rift basins in Thailand.


[no object] chiefly Geology Back to top  
  • 1Form fissures or breaks, especially through large-scale faulting; move apart: a fragment of continental crust which rifted away from eastern Australia
    More example sentences
    • An active origin is suggested because volcanism and uplift appear to have preceded rifting, an active plume passing over a large area.
    • By the beginning of the Cretaceous, the supercontinent Pangea was already rifting apart, and by the mid-Cretaceous, it had split into several smaller continents.
    • As envisaged by Robertson et al. continental fragments rifted from Gondwana in Triassic time.
  • 1.1 [with object] (usually as adjective rifted) Tear or force (something) apart: the nascent rifted margins of the Red Sea
    More example sentences
    • Dismembered counterparts of the Beysehir-Hoyran Nappes further east are restored as a Triassic rifted margin.
    • Finally volcanic rocks spread over its surface as the Slave protocontinent was rifted apart about 2.8 billion to 2.7 billion years ago.
    • Mid-Cretaceous faulting is observed along the Ran ridge, whereas the axis of the Paleocene rifted zone is shifted slightly further to the west in the Voring margin.


Middle English: of Scandinavian origin; compare with Norwegian and Danish rift 'cleft, chink'.

More definitions of rift

Definition of rift in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day coloratura
Pronunciation: ˌkɒlərəˈtjʊərə
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody