Definition of


  1. (verb, contact) come or be in close contact with; stick or hold together and resist separation
    The label stuck to the box
    The sushi rice grains cohere
  2. (verb, contact) separate or cut with a tool, such as a sharp instrument
  3. (verb, contact) make by cutting into

via WordNet, Princeton University

Synonyms of Cleave

adhere, cling, cohere, rive, split, stick

Alternate forms of Cleave

Derivations: cleavage, cleaver, cleft

Hyponyms: agglutinate, conglutinate, laminate, maul, mold

Hypernyms: adjoin, contact, create, make, meet, tear, touch

Origin of the word Cleave

  1. "to split," O.E. cleofan "to split, separate" (class II strong verb, past tense cleaf, past participle clofen), from P.Gmc. *kleubanan, from PIE base *gleubh- "to cut, slice." Past tense form clave is recorded in Northern writers from 14c. and was used with both verbs (see cleave (2)), apparently by analogy with other ME strong verbs. C… more
  2. "to adhere," O.E. clifian, from W.Gmc. *klibajanan, from PIE *gloi- "to stick." The confusion was less in O.E. when cleave (1) was a class 2 strong verb and cleave (2) a class 1 verb; but it has grown since cleave (1) weakened, which may be why both are largely superseded by stick and split. more

via Online Etymology Dictionary, ©2001 Douglas Harper

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