One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Split or tear apart violently.‘the party was riven by disagreements over Europe’figurative ‘he was riven with guilt’
torn apart, split, rent, ripped apart, ruptured, severedView synonyms
- ‘Since the middle of the 19th century, the world of ‘classical music’ has been a world riven with political factions and contentious publicity.’
- ‘Despite his position on the progressive wing, he emerged as leader of a party riven with internal divisions in 1976.’
- ‘His work forms a single entity that is full of life, intelligent and open-minded, yet riven with doubt, idiosyncrasy, and contradiction.’
- ‘Although Disney's company was riven with conflicts after his death, the firm emerged in the mid-1980s as the prototype of a successful international media conglomerate.’
- ‘The negotiating process usually starts during the summer and leaves the cabinet riven with dispute as ministers fight it out with Minister for Finance for resources.’
- 1.1archaic Split or crack (wood or stone)‘the wood was riven with deep cracks’
- 1.2archaic no object (of wood or stone) split or crack.‘I started to chop furiously, the dry wood riving and splintering under the axe’
Middle English: from Old Norse rífa, of unknown ultimate origin.
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