A rift is a deep crack or fissure in a solid material, such as rock, or it can refer to a break or separation in a relationship or a group.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



Split, crack, gap, division, separation, breach


Unity, cohesion, agreement, harmony

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun rift, rifts
Verb None
Adjective None
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • The earthquake caused a rift in the ground that was several feet wide and very deep.

  • The rift between the two siblings was so great that they had not spoken in years.

  • The political party suffered a major rift over the issue of healthcare reform, with some members leaving to form a new party.

  • The company’s decision to outsource jobs caused a rift between management and the employees.


The word “rift” can be used in a variety of contexts, but it always refers to some kind of break or separation. In geological terms, a rift is a large crack or fissure that forms in rock or earth as a result of tectonic activity or other natural forces. These rifts can be very deep and can have a significant impact on the surrounding environment.

In non-geological contexts, “rift” is often used to describe a break or separation in a relationship, organization, or group. This could be a disagreement between two friends or family members, a split within a political party or business, or a division between two nations. The word “rift” suggests a deep and significant break, rather than a minor disagreement or temporary separation.

The root of “rift” is the Old Norse word “ripta,” meaning “to break apart.” This root is also related to the English word “rip,” which means to tear or separate something. There are also several related words that use the same root, such as “rift valley,” which describes a large valley that forms as a result of tectonic activity, and “rift zone,” which refers to an area where two tectonic plates are pulling apart. The prefix “in-” can be added to “rift” to create the opposite meaning, as in “in-rift” or “intra-rift,” which refers to areas of the earth’s crust that are collapsing inward rather than pulling apart.