fissure

A long fine crack in the surface of something is called a fissure. If you see a fissure in the ice on a frozen lake, you'll want to take off your skates and head back to the car.

Fissure has its roots in the Latin word fissura, meaning a cleft or crack. If something breaks into fine cracks, you can describe the action with the verb form of fissure. For example, "She watched in horror as the earth fissured beneath her feet, recognizing the signs of an earthquake but powerless to do anything to save herself except throw herself to the ground and hang on."

Definitions of fissure
  1. noun
    a long narrow depression in a surface
    synonyms: chap, crack, cranny, crevice
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    type of:
    depression, impression, imprint
    a concavity in a surface produced by pressing
  2. noun
    a long narrow opening
    synonyms: cleft, crack, crevice, scissure
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    examples:
    Denali Fault
    a major open geological fault in Alaska
    San Andreas Fault
    a major geological fault in California; runs from San Diego to San Francisco; the source of serious earthquakes
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    chap
    a crack in a lip caused usually by cold
    chink
    a narrow opening as e.g. between planks in a wall
    crevasse
    a deep fissure
    fatigue crack
    a crack in metal resulting from metal fatigue
    break, fault, faulting, fracture, geological fault, shift
    (geology) a crack in the earth's crust resulting from the displacement of one side with respect to the other
    rift
    a narrow fissure in rock
    slit
    a narrow fissure
    split
    a lengthwise crack in wood
    vent, volcano
    a fissure in the earth's crust (or in the surface of some other planet) through which molten lava and gases erupt
    inclined fault
    a geological fault in which one side is above the other
    strike-slip fault
    a geological fault in which one of the adjacent surfaces appears to have moved horizontally
    type of:
    gap, opening
    an open or empty space in or between things
  3. noun
    (anatomy) a long narrow slit or groove that divides an organ into lobes
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    types:
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    sulcus
    (anatomy) any of the narrow grooves in an organ or tissue especially those that mark the convolutions on the surface of the brain
    hilum, hilus
    (anatomy) a depression or fissure where vessels or nerves or ducts enter a bodily organ
    Rolando's fissure, central sulcus, fissure of Rolando, sulcus centralis
    a brain fissure extending upward on the lateral surface of both hemispheres; separates the frontal and parietal lobes
    Sylvian fissure, fissure of Sylvius, lateral cerebral sulcus, sulcus lateralis cerebri
    the deepest and most prominent of the cortical fissures; separates the frontal lobes and temporal lobes in both hemispheres
    parieto-occipital fissure, parieto-occipital sulcus
    a sulcus near the posterior end of each hemisphere that separates the parietal lobes and the occipital lobes in both hemispheres
    calcarine fissure, calcarine sulcus
    a sulcus in the mesial surface of the occipital lobe of the cerebrum
    type of:
    groove, vallecula
    (anatomy) any furrow or channel on a bodily structure or part
  4. verb
    break into fissures or fine cracks
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    type of:
    crack
    cause to become cracked
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