Definition of fissure in English:



  • 1A long, narrow opening or line of breakage made by cracking or splitting, especially in rock or earth.

    ‘the bacteria survive around vents or fissures in the deep ocean floor’
    • ‘She pointed to a fissure in the rock a few feet above her.’
    • ‘The shelves and fissures which bisect these rocks are home to edible crabs, velvet swimming crabs, prawns, squat lobsters and the occasional large common lobster, which will march out boldly to meet your intrusion.’
    • ‘It was a fissure filling of Paleozoic, probably Permian, age.’
    • ‘He found himself following a main fissure down through the rock, the only one wide enough to admit him.’
    • ‘Flat lawns are formed into an abstract pattern that recalls tectonic fractures and fissures in the earth's surface, their edges defined by dark grey concrete retaining walls.’
    • ‘There are over 100 surface pumps that remove water from aquifers, geologic units where water is stored between grains of sand or in rock fissures.’
    • ‘Sandstone-filled cracks exposed at the unconformity are viewed as periglacial frost fissures.’
    • ‘Several stunning sequences show the earth split apart in massive fissures as people tumble like spilled marbles.’
    • ‘The fissures in the rocks seem to burrow ever deeper into the earth and seem blindingly black and dark.’
    • ‘Geysers of steam leapt up from fissures in the rock.’
    • ‘‘Earth fissures several feet wide and deep have been observed in Lucerne Valley,’ he said.’
    • ‘Early-stage hydrothermal leaching of the limestone created solution cavities and brecciated zones along the fissures and faults, providing sites for subsequent ore deposition.’
    • ‘He ran his hand over a small fissure in the rock floor.’
    • ‘Company officials stated that the diamond bit had probably followed one of the rich, narrow copper fissures for some distance, and the core obtained did not represent the true width of the deposit.’
    • ‘The branching dendrites found in moss agate were created by mineral deposits of manganese and iron trapped in fissures within the rock.’
    • ‘Passing through a massive fissure in the rock, you enter a canyon that runs through to open water.’
    • ‘In these types of deposits, gold and silver are precipitated by hot springs in fissures, faults, and explosive breccias in the upper portions of the mineral system.’
    • ‘There are vertical walls with jagged buttresses, sweeping canyons, arches, narrow gullies and fissures in the rock that develop into caves at the waterline.’
    • ‘Illuminating fissures and fault lines began to appear.’
    • ‘The occurrence of ventifacts and frost fissures implies a cold, windy periglacial climate.’
    opening, crevice, crack, cleft, cranny, chink, slit, groove, gap, hole, breach, aperture, vent, interstice
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Anatomy A long, narrow opening, e.g. any of the spaces separating convolutions of the brain.
      • ‘The inferior surfaces of the frontal lobes are separated from those of the temporal lobes by the lateral fissure.’
      • ‘In this natural and inevitable process of atrophy, parts of the brain shrink, while the sulci, or fissures of the brain become shallower and wider.’
      • ‘The surgery went for eight hours; it was complicated by tentacles wrapped around the optic nerve and extending into the choroidal fissure which is the groove on the surface of the optic stalk.’
      • ‘A chest radiograph shows right pleural wall thickening following the contour of the minor fissure consistent with right pleural effusion.’
      • ‘However, one more frequently finds the commonly described five lobes not separated by fissures.’
      opening, aperture, gap, space, orifice, slot, vent, outlet, chink, breach
      View synonyms
  • 2A state of incompatibility or disagreement.

    ‘a fissure between philosophy and reality’
    • ‘The war opened up profound fissures among the leading capitalist powers.’
    • ‘Instead, I began to see the conflicts and fissures that exist in the city and divide its inhabitants into different groups, classes and cultures.’
    • ‘There is no way they can paper over the huge fissures created in the UK agricultural industry and the compensation offer has been described by most affected producers as a disaster.’
    • ‘Many delegates discussed how Asian media confronts the fissures between democracy and the global market economy.’
    • ‘It is clearly a plan on the part of outsiders to come in this country and spark civil war, create sectarian violence and try to expose fissures in the society.’
    • ‘In addition, the state itself is subject to the diverse cultural pressures and social fissures to which intellectuals, in their writings about folk religion, give voice.’
    • ‘But by the time the novel is over, we've seen how small irruptions of human weakness, no less than gigantic cultural fissures, can change everything.’
    • ‘The same can be true of ideological differences, with the personal rivalry in place long before the policy fissure that maps on to it.’
    • ‘Suddenly a fissure runs through the group of contented 40-year-olds at the hub of the narrative.’


[WITH OBJECT]usually as adjective fissured
  • Split or crack (something) to form a long, narrow opening.

    ‘low cliffs of fissured Silurian rock’
    • ‘The façade of part of the house is fissured due to subsidence.’
    • ‘On the eastern side is the Koolau Range, whose spectacular fissured cliffs front the windward side of the island.’
    • ‘The pristine plasterwork was already fissured with micro-cracks.’
    • ‘Montana was a vast three-dimensional world, rich with complex geological strata, alive with the movement of minerals through once-molten rock, shaped and fissured by eons of pressure and time.’
    • ‘After disembarking, there is a short, sharp climb to the summit at 2,743m, across fissured limestone where rock anemones grow.’
    • ‘Here again the reef top was cracked and fissured, allowing fingers of natural light to play through the deep blue water.’
    • ‘You can also find everything you need for rockeries, natural stone features and paving - including Kent rag, fissured limestone, green/pink granite and Cornish rustic slate.’
    • ‘The near-vertical sides are fissured, and twenty-four caves and rock shelters are known.’
    • ‘Looks like a coral reef cut into deeply fissured rectangles that reveal fossils.’
    • ‘Here you can find deeply fissured reefs, sandy plains and even wrecks, all within 50-100m of the shore.’
    • ‘Between Port St Mary and the Calf of Man are moderate sea-cliffs, at one point fissured so that the Sugarloaf Caves have been formed.’
    • ‘We would slide into the water and spend our 30-40 minutes, and when we came up what greeted us was a wall of snowy rock, fissured glaciers flowing to the waterline and huge towers of ice that sometimes collapsed before our eyes.’
    • ‘It may be moist and pink, there may be red psoriasiform with yellow, superficial crusting, or there may be a dry fissured area with mucoid discharge.’
    • ‘The fruit is elongated, its green skin fissured by the hexagonal boundaries of the sections and covered with spikes.’
    split, broken, fissured, fractured, ruptured, splintered, cleft, slit
    View synonyms


Late Middle English: from Old French, or from Latin fissura, from findere ‘to split’.