Sunday, July 12, 2009


Cleave: Cleave is in a special subset of homographs (words that are spelled the same, but have different meanings, such as can in tin can and I can.) Cleave is an auto-antonym or contranym. Cleave, as used in the Bible, means to adhere, to stick together. It shares its etymology with clove, as used in clove hitch. The other meaning for cleave, as in meat cleaver, means to separate, and shares its etymology with cleft, as use in cleft lip.
There's a lot of talk in the Bible about cleaving. Men and women cleaving unto God. Husbands cleaving to wives. Bones cleaving to skin. Cleaving, we are to understand, is a good thing. The righteous cleave; the wicked do not.

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