V2 Vocabulary Building Dictionary



Definition: 1. to cling and adhere tightly to something; 2. to be faithful to; 3. to cut or divide by a splitting blow

Synonyms: attach, cling, stick, unite, rend, dissect, sever, divide


Tips: Cleave can be the act of splitting or separating or it can denote the opposite, to attach or stick to. Either meaning is powerful and dramatic, but the meaning of clining to something is usually reserved for literary use. For the definition of cutting or separating, think about a cleaver, which is the large square butcher knife used to cleave meat.

Usage Examples:

The lumberjack will cleave the tree trunks with his axe. (rend, sever)

The early Christians were known to cleave to their beliefs despite heavy persecution. (cling, stick)

The jeweler uses a special tool to cleave large diamonds into several smaller ones. (divide, sever)

She cleaved to the memories of her life with her husband and found it difficult to move on after he died. (clung)

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