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PronunciationEdit

Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English clift, from Old English ġeclyft, from Proto-Germanic *kluftiz. Compare Dutch klucht (chaotic), Swedish klyft (cave, den) cave, den, German Kluft. See cleave.

NounEdit

cleft (plural clefts)

  1. An opening, fissure, or V-shaped indentation made by or as if by splitting.
  2. A piece made by splitting.
    a cleft of wood
  3. A disease of horses; a crack on the band of the pastern.
Derived termsEdit
Related termsEdit
TranslationsEdit
See alsoEdit

AdjectiveEdit

cleft (not comparable)

  1. split, divided, or partially divided into two.
TranslationsEdit

Etymology 2Edit

VerbEdit

cleft

  1. simple past tense and past participle of cleave

Etymology 3Edit

VerbEdit

cleft (third-person singular simple present clefts, present participle clefting, simple past and past participle clefted)

  1. (linguistics) To syntactically separate a prominent constituent from the rest of the clause that concerns it, such as threat in "The threat which I saw but which he didn't see, was his downfall."
    • 1983, John Haiman, Pamela Munro, editors, Switch-reference and Universal Grammar: Proceedings of a Symposium on Switch Reference and Universal Grammar, Winnipeg, May 1981:
      This may be so because in most languages the most natural clefting involves NP's, and it is in fact hard in most languages to cleft the verb, although some — notably Kwa languages in West-Africa — allow such clefting.
    • 2002, Claire Lefebvre, A Grammar of Fongbe, page 521:
      When the affected object is clefted, the clefted constituent may be assigned a contrastive reading on the event denoted by the clause, as is shown in (62).
    • 2013, Katharina Hartmann, Cleft Structures, page 270:
      The strategy the language employs is to cleft the clause containing the wh-phrase, as exemplified in (3) []
Related termsEdit