It forms all or part of: abet; bait (n.) "food used to attract prey;" bait (v.) "to torment, persecute;" bateau; beetle (n.1) "type of insect; bit (n.1) "small piece;" bite; bitter; bitter end; boat; boatswain; -fid; fissile; fission; fissure; giblets; pita; pizza; vent (n.).
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit bhinadmi "I cleave," Latin Latin findere "to split, cleave, separate, divide," Old High German bizzan "to bite," Old English bita "a piece bitten off, morsel," Old Norse beita "to hunt with dogs," beita "pasture, food."
"a crack, a cleft, a fissure," mid-14c., crevace, from Old French crevace (12c., Modern French crevasse) "gap, rift, crack" (also, vulgarly, "the female pudenda"), from Vulgar Latin *crepacia, from Latin crepare "to crack, creak" (see raven). Between Latin and French the meaning shifted from the sound of breaking to the resulting fissure.
1570s, alteration (by influence of cleft, new weak past participle of cleave (v.1)), of Middle English clift "fissure, rift, space or opening made by cleaving" (early 14c.), from Old English geclyft (adj.) "split, cloven," from Proto-Germanic *kluftis (compare Old High German chluft, German Kluft, Danish kløft "cleft, fissure, gap"), from PIE root *gleubh- "to tear apart, cleave." In Middle English anatomy, it meant "the parting of the thighs" (early 14c.).
"a split, crack," 1530s, with unetymological -k + Middle English chine (and replacing this word) "fissure, narrow valley," from Old English cinu, cine "fissure," which is related to cinan "to crack, split, gape," from Proto-Germanic *kino-(source also of Old Saxon and Old High German kinan, Gothic uskeinan, German keimen "to germinate;" Middle Dutch kene, Old Saxon kin, German Keim "germ"). The connection being in the notion of bursting open.
1823, "a fissure or crack in the ice of glaciers in the Alps;" 1814, "a breach in a riverbank" (in this use via Louisiana French), from French crevasse, from Old French crevace "crevice" (see crevice). Identical with crevice, but re-adopted in senses for which the then-meaning of crevice was felt to be too small.
"small, narrow opening, crevice," mid-15c., possibly from a diminutive of Old French cran, cren "a notch, a hole, a cut, fissure" (14c.), from crener "to notch, split," from Medieval Latin crenare, which is possibly from Latin cernere "to separate, sift" (from PIE root *krei- "to sieve"). Compare Old French crene "notched." But OED casts doubt on this derivation. Related: Crannied (mid-15c.).
"to crack open in fissures," mid-15c., chappen (intransitive) "to split, burst open in fissures;" "cause to split or crack" (transitive); perhaps a variant of choppen (see chop (v.), and compare strap/strop), or related to Middle Dutch kappen "to chop, cut," Danish kappe, Swedish kappa "to cut."
Usually in reference to the effects of extreme cold followed by heat on exposed body parts. Related: Chapped; chapping. The noun meaning "fissure in the skin" is from late 14c.