Words related to cleave


Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to tear apart, cleave." 

It forms all or part of: cleave (v.1) "to split, part or divide by force;" cleft; clever; clevis; clove (n.2)  "slice of garlic;" glyptodon; hieroglyphic; petroglyph.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek glyphe "a carving," glyphein "to hollow out, cut out with a knife, engrave, carve;" Latin glubere "to peel, shell, strip;" Old High German klioban, Old English cleofan, Old Norse kljufa "to cleave," Old Norse klofi, Middle Dutch clove "a cleft."  

clay (n.)

Old English clæg "stiff, sticky earth; clay," from Proto-Germanic *klaijaz (source also of Old High German kliwa "bran," German Kleie, Old Frisian klai, Old Saxon klei, Middle Dutch clei, Danish klæg "clay;" also Old English clæman, Old Norse kleima, Old High German kleiman "to cover with clay").

Some sources see these as being from a common PIE root meaning "slime; glue" also forming words for "clay" and verbs for "stick together." Compared words include Latin gluten "glue, beeswax;" Greek gloios "sticky matter;" Lithuanian glitus "sticky," glitas "mucus;" Old Church Slavonic glina "clay," glenu "slime, mucus;" Old Irish glenim "I cleave, adhere;" Old English cliða "plaster." But Beekes writes that "Not all comparisons are convincing," and notes that most words cited are from Balto-Slavic or Germanic, "which suggests European substrate origin."

In Scripture, the stuff from which the body of the first man was formed; hence "human body" (especially when dead). As an adjective, "formed of clay," 1520s. Clay-pigeon "saucer of baked clay used as a flying target in trap-shooting," in place of live birds, is from 1881. Feet of clay "fundamental weakness" is from Daniel ii.33.

cleavage (n.)

1805, in geology and mineralogy, "tendency (of rocks or gems) to break cleanly along natural fissures," from cleave (v.1) + -age. General meaning "action or state of cleaving or being cleft" is from 1867.

The sense of "cleft between a woman's breasts in low-cut clothing" is first recorded 1946, defined in a "Time" magazine article [Aug. 5] as the "Johnston Office trade term for the shadowed depression dividing an actress' bosom into two distinct sections;" traditionally first used in this sense by U.S. publicist Joseph I. Breen (1888-1965), head of the Production Code Administration (replaced 1945 by Eric Johnston), enforcers of Hollywood self-censorship, in reference to Jane Russell's costumes and poses in "The Outlaw."

cleaver (n.)

late 15c., "one who splits," agent noun from cleave (v.1). Originally "one who splits boards with a wedge instead of sawing;" attested as part of a surname from mid-14c. Meaning "butcher's long-bladed chopper" is from mid-15c. Marrow-bones and cleavers as instruments of "rough music" is from 1716.

This last ["Marrowbones and Cleaver"] is a sign in Fetter Lane, originating from a custom, now rapidly dying away, of the butcher boys serenading newly married couples with these professional instruments. Formerly, the band would consist of four cleavers, each of a different tone, or, if complete, of eight, and by beating their marrowbones skilfully against these, they obtained a sort of music somewhat after the fashion of indifferent bell-ringing. When well performed, however, and heard from a proper distance, it was not altogether unpleasant. ... The butchers of Clare market had the reputation of being the best performers. ... This music was once so common that Tom Killigrew called it the national instrument of England. [Larwood & Hotten, "The History of Signboards from the Earliest Times to the Present Day," London, 1867]
cleft (n.)

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.).

cleft (adj.)

"split, cloven," late 14c., past-participle adjective from cleave (v.1)). Cleft palate attested from 1828.

cloven (adj.)

"divided, split," Old English clofen, past-participle adjective from cleave (v.1). Sometimes shortened to clove, hence clove-hitch (1769), etc. Cloven hoof, characteristic of ruminant quadrupeds (and ascribed in mythology to Pan and the Devil) is from c. 1200.