1a crack, split, or break in something:the wind had torn open a rift in the clouds
Geology a major fault separating blocks of the earth’s surface; a rift valley.
2a serious break in friendly relations:their demise caused a rift between the city’s town and gown
[no object] chiefly Geology
form fissures, cracks, or breaks, especially through large-scale faulting; move apart:a fragment of continental crust that rifted away from eastern Australia (as noun rifting)active rifting in southwestern Mexico
[with object] (usually as adjective rifted) tear or force (something) apart:the nascent rifted margins of the Red Sea
Middle English: of Scandinavian origin; compare with Norwegian and Danish rift 'cleft, chink'