cleave

Cleave, a verb, has two very different meanings. It can describe cutting or splitting something apart with a sharp instrument, or — oddly enough — it can describe sticking to something like glue.

To cleave or not to cleave, that is the question. Cleave can refer to being in close contact, to staying really, really close to someone or something: "If you are walking in the pitch-black woods without a flashlight, you want to cleave to the person in front of you." On the other hand, it can mean to split apart with a sharp tool — which is not the action you want to happen while walking in the woods. We've seen that movie.

PRIMARY MEANINGS OF: cleave

1
v
separate or cut with a tool, such as a sharp instrument
2
v
come or be in close contact with; stick or hold together and resist separation
FULL DEFINITIONS OF: cleave
1

v separate or cut with a tool, such as a sharp instrument

cleave the bone”
Synonyms:
rive, split
Types:
maul
split (wood) with a maul and wedges
laminate
split (wood) into thin sheets
Type of:
tear
to separate or be separated by force

v make by cutting into

“The water is going to cleave a channel into the rock”
Synonyms
rive, split
separate or cut with a tool, such as a sharp instrument
Type of:
create, make
make or cause to be or to become
2

v come or be in close contact with; stick or hold together and resist separation

Synonyms:
adhere, cling, cohere, stick
adhere, bind, bond, hold fast, stick, stick to
stick to firmly
stick
fasten with an adhesive material like glue
Types:
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mold
fit tightly, follow the contours of
conglutinate
stick together
agglutinate
clump together; as of bacteria, red blood cells, etc.
haemagglutinate, hemagglutinate
cause the clumping together (of red blood cells)
Type of:
adjoin, contact, meet, touch
be in direct physical contact with; make contact
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