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”). Cognate with Dutch klieven, dialectal German klieben, Swedish klyva, and 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.
- 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.
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cleave (plural cleaves)
- (technology) Flat, smooth surface produced by cleavage, or any similar surface produced by similar techniques, as in glass.