There are 2 main definitions of cleft in English:

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cleft1

Line breaks: cleft
Pronunciation: /klɛft
 
/

verb

past participle of cleave1.

adjective

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Split, divided, or partially divided into two: a cleft chin
More example sentences
  • Mostly, he saw Bert's fists moving rhythmically, seeming inexorably drawn to Marlon's cleft chin like magnets drawn to metal.
  • Painted five years earlier, the nine children of Friedrich Wilhelm Paul Leopold of Schleswig-Holstein each shared the dark eyes and cleft chin of their father.
  • Many orthopedic conditions, just like dimples or cleft chins, are just normal variations of human anatomy that don't require treatment.
Synonyms

Phrases

be (or be caught) in a cleft stick

1
Be in a situation in which any action one takes will have adverse consequences.
Example sentences
  • They're caught in a cleft stick situation where they either face being beaten up by dealers or arrested by the police for selling drugs.
  • But in fact the administration is in a cleft stick.
  • The general, adept in running with the hare and hunting with the hound, is now caught in a cleft stick.

Definition of cleft in:

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There are 2 main definitions of cleft in English:

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cleft2

Line breaks: cleft
Pronunciation: /klɛft
 
/

noun

1A fissure or split, especially in rock or the ground: the third peak is divided from the eastern one by a deep cleft
More example sentences
  • The kraal had been ripped asunder, and the ground within the rock cleft and by the cave entrance was littered with dead sheep.
  • A thin cleft in the rock split the ridge like a wound.
  • There is an early legend that swallows and swifts hibernated in caves or clefts in the rocks.
Synonyms
cranny, interstice, furrow, indentation;
gap, hole, pit, void, crater
1.1A vertical indentation in the middle of a person’s forehead or chin: the enticing cleft in his chin
More example sentences
  • He ran his thumb down the cleft of his chin, self-consciously, over a small vertical shaving nick on the cleft of his chin.
  • His deep Italian accent made him look all the more adorable as did the small mole left on the cleft of his dimpled chin.
  • The image of him was quickly fading from Kathleen's mind, but she remembered his firm chin, with a decided cleft down its middle.
1.2A deep division between two parts of the body.
Example sentences
  • It is rare that tissue is needed from elsewhere in the body to close a cleft.
  • There is no nerve plexus in the clefts between these muscle layers.
  • He or she will feel for pulses behind your inside ankle bone or in the cleft between your big and next toe.
2 (also cleft sentence) Grammar A sentence in which an element is emphasized by being put in a separate clause, with the use of an empty introductory word such as it or that, e.g. it’s money we want; it was today that I saw him; that was the King you were talking to.
Example sentences
  • The first clause of a cleft sentence consists of It, a form of the verb be, and the focused item.
  • They weren't necessarily treating the construction itself as a cleft sentence.
  • Two explanations have been proposed for the formation of the Japanese cleft sentence.

Origin

Middle English clift: of Germanic origin; related to Dutch kluft and German Kluft, also to cleave1. The form of the word was altered in the 16th century by association with cleft1.

Definition of cleft in:

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