From Middle English cleven, from the Old English strong verb clēofan (“to split, to separate”), from Proto-Germanic *kleubaną, from Proto-Indo-European *glewbʰ- (“to cut, to slice”). Doublet of clive. Cognate with Dutch klieven, dialectal German klieben, Swedish klyva, Norwegian Nynorsk kløyva; also Ancient Greek γλύφω (glúphō, “carve”).
- (transitive) To split or sever something with, or as if with, a sharp instrument.
- The wings cleaved the foggy air.
- c. 1599–1602, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act III, scene iv]:
- O Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain.
- (transitive, mineralogy) To break a single crystal (such as a gemstone or semiconductor wafer) along one of its more symmetrical crystallographic planes (often by impact), forming facets on the resulting pieces.
- (transitive) To make or accomplish by or as if by cutting.
- The truck cleaved a path through the ice.
- (transitive, chemistry) To split (a complex molecule) into simpler molecules.
- (intransitive) To split.
- (intransitive, mineralogy) Of a crystal, to split along a natural plane of division.
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
cleave (plural cleaves)
- (technology) Flat, smooth surface produced by cleavage, or any similar surface produced by similar techniques, as in glass.
From Middle English cleven, a conflation of two verbs: Old English clifian (from Proto-Germanic *klibāną) and Old English clīfan (from Proto-Germanic *klībaną), both ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *gleybʰ- (“to stick”).
- See also Thesaurus:adhere