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


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