Etymology
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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.

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Definitions of cleft
1
cleft (n.)
a split or indentation in something (as the palate or chin);
cleft (n.)
a long narrow opening;
Synonyms: crack / crevice / fissure / scissure
2
cleft (adj.)
split or divided;
the infant was born with a double harelip and cleft palate
he had a cleft chin and strong jaw
a cleft stick
cleft (adj.)
having one or more indentations reaching nearly to the midrib;
Synonyms: dissected
From wordnet.princeton.edu