Definition of cliff in US English:



  • A steep rock face, especially at the edge of the sea.

    ‘a path along the top of rugged cliffs’
    as modifier ‘the cliff face’
    • ‘He floats for two days and when he nears the land all he can see are violent crags and cliffs.’
    • ‘His daughter's empty camper van was found parked at the edge of cliffs near her home in Cornwall.’
    • ‘He learned that conditions were treacherous and it was unsafe to go to the cliff edge.’
    • ‘She stood up quickly, without really knowing why, and walked towards the edge of the cliff.’
    • ‘We can hear the saws of the fallers, still cutting above rock cliffs on the steep mountainside.’
    • ‘We get ochres on the island, the white ochre is collected from the cliff edge of the beach.’
    • ‘It is a land of mountains, moorland and hill pasture, with steep river valleys and cliffs.’
    • ‘The path hugs the cliffs in places, with steep drops to the sea, so care is needed.’
    • ‘The other day, walking below on the edge of the cliff, we saw a rock wallaby at the side.’
    • ‘The site is perched on the edge of a small cliff looking out over a rocky outcrop, the sea and a secluded cove.’
    • ‘As the sun comes up here behind me, you can begin to see the ancient Buddhas in the cliffs.’
    • ‘The beach is only accessible by boat because of the sheer cliffs that surround it.’
    • ‘They walked up a hill which seemed to go up forever and found themselves on the edge of a cliff.’
    • ‘She took his halter and began leading him along the edge of the cliffs.’
    • ‘He saw every side and shade and angle of the training business and to him it seemed like the view from a cliff's edge.’
    • ‘He even moved closer to the set, like a lemming drawn to the edge of a cliff.’
    • ‘Rugged cliffs were spread across the shore, their rough surface covered in random spots of deep green moss.’
    • ‘The water was also hundreds of feet below them, as they saw they were on the edge of a cliff.’
    • ‘Here they were faced with steep cliffs which they had to climb to get off the beach.’
    • ‘He imagined he could climb the rock face to the cliff above, run down the path and still get there before her.’
    precipice, rock face, face, crag, bluff, ridge, escarpment, scar, scarp, overhang
    View synonyms


Old English clif, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch klif.