AskDefine | Define rift

Dictionary Definition



1 a gap between cloud masses; "the sun shone through a rift in the clouds"
2 a narrow fissure in rock
3 a personal or social separation (as between opposing factions); "they hoped to avoid a break in relations" [syn: rupture, breach, break, severance, falling out]

User Contributed Dictionary



Etymology 1

Of Scandinavian origin; compare Danish rift ‘chink’.


  1. A chasm or fissure.
    My marriage is in trouble, the fight created a rift between us and we can't reconnect.
    The Grand Canyon is a rift in the Earth's surface, but is smaller than some of the undersea ones.


  1. To form a rift.

Etymology 2

From Old Norse rypta.


  1. To belch.



From Old Norse rypta.


  1. to belch, burp

Extensive Definition

In geology, a rift is a place where the Earth's crust and lithosphere are being pulled apart, an example of extensional tectonics. Typical features are a central linear downdropped fault segment, called a graben, with parallel normal faulting and rift-flank uplifts on either side forming a rift valley, where the rift remains above sea level. The axis of the rift area commonly contains volcanic rocks and active volcanism is a part of many but not all active rift systems. Rifts are distinct from Mid-ocean ridges, where new oceanic crust and lithosphere is created by seafloor spreading. In rifts, no crust or lithosphere is produced. If rifting continues, eventually a mid-ocean ridge may form, marking a divergent boundary between two tectonic plates. Failed rifts, which may be ancient or modern, are where continental rifting began, but then failed to continue to the point of break-up. Typically the transition from rifting to spreading develops as three converging rifts over a hotspot. Two of these evolve to the point of seafloor spreading, while the third ultimately fails, becoming an aulacogen.


rift in Tosk Albanian: Grabenbruch
rift in Czech: Rift
rift in German: Grabenbruch
rift in Spanish: Zona rift
rift in French: Rift
rift in Italian: Rift
rift in Dutch: Rift
rift in Polish: Ryft
rift in Portuguese: Rift
rift in Russian: Рифт
rift in Slovak: Rift
rift in Finnish: Hautavajoama
rift in Swedish: Gravsänka
rift in Ukrainian: Рифтогенез

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

abysm, abyss, alienation, arroyo, birthmark, blackhead, bleb, blemish, blister, box canyon, breach, breach of friendship, break, breakage, broach, bug, bulla, burst, canyon, catch, cavity, chap, chasm, check, chimney, chink, chinky, chip, cicatrix, cleavage, cleave, cleft, cleuch, clough, cloven, col, comedo, conflict, coulee, couloir, crack, cracked, cranny, crater, craze, crevasse, crevice, cut, cut open, cwm, defacement, defect, defection, deficiency, defile, deformation, deformity, dehiscent, dell, difference, dike, disaffection, disagreement, disfavor, disfiguration, disfigurement, dispart, disruption, distance, distortion, disunion, disunity, ditch, divaricate, divergence, divide, dividedness, division, donga, draw, drawback, estrangement, excavation, failing, failure, falling-out, fault, faute, fissure, fissured, fissury, flaw, flume, fly open, foible, fracture, frailty, freckle, furrow, gap, gape, gaping, gappy, gash, gorge, groove, gulch, gulf, gully, hemangioma, hiatus, hickey, hole, imperfection, inadequacy, incise, incision, infirmity, interruption, interval, joint, keloid, kink, kloof, lay open, leak, lentigo, little problem, milium, moat, mole, needle scar, nevus, notch, nullah, ope, open, open rupture, open up, opening, part, pass, passage, pimple, pit, pock, pockmark, port-wine mark, port-wine stain, problem, pustule, ravine, recall of ambassadors, rent, rime, rimose, rimulose, rip, rive, rupture, scab, scale, scar, schism, scissure, scratch, seam, sebaceous cyst, separate, separation, shortcoming, slash, slice, slit, slot, snag, something missing, splinter, split, spread, spread out, spring open, strawberry mark, sty, swing open, taint, tap, tear, tear open, throw open, track, trench, twist, valley, verruca, vesicle, void, vulnerable place, wadi, wale, warp, wart, weak link, weak point, weakness, weal, welt, wen, whitehead
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