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1570, of imitative origin; Compare also Saterland Frisian Kloang, West Frisian klank, Dutch klank, German Klang (from klingen), Danish and Swedish klang, Latin clangere.


  • enPR: klăng, IPA(key): /klæŋ/
    • (file)
  • Rhymes: -æŋ


clang (plural clangs)

  1. A loud, ringing sound, like that made by free-hanging metal objects striking each other.
  2. Quality of tone.
  3. The cry of some birds, including the crane and the goose.
  4. (psychology, psychiatry) A word or phrase linked only by sound and not by meaning, characteristic of some mental disorders.
    • 1973, Oliver Sacks, Awakenings
      For much of this day, Mrs Y. wrote in her diary, covering page after page in a rapid scrawl full of paligraphic repetitions, puns, clangs, and violent, perseverative crossings-out []
  5. (music) Alternative form of klang



clang (third-person singular simple present clangs, present participle clanging, simple past and past participle clanged)

  1. (transitive) To strike (objects) together so as to produce a clang.
    • a. 1722, Matthew Prior, “The First Hymn of Callimachus. To Jupiter.”, in The Poetical Works of Matthew Prior [], Edinburgh: James Nichol, [], published 1858, OCLC 1000393117, lines 58–60, page 207:
      Around, the first Curetes (order solemn / To thy foreknowing mother!) trod tumultuous / Their mystic dance, and clanged their sounding arms; [...]
  2. (intransitive) To give out a clang; to resound.
    • 2015 May 25, Daniel Taylor, “Norwich reach Premier League after early blitz sees off Middlesbrough”, in The Guardian (London)[1]:
      Middlesbrough will wonder whether it might have been different if the volley that Jelle Vossen slashed towards John Ruddy’s net after nine minutes had been a couple inches lower rather than clanging off the crossbar. They should not dwell on that moment too long, however.
    • 1933, Norvell Page, Wings of the Black Death:
      A cell door clanged metallically and Wentworth was flung inside. He tripped, collapsed upon the concrete floor.
    • 1920, Edith Wharton, chapter XXIX, in The Age of Innocence[2]:
      The clanging and groaning of the train came nearer, and it staggered slowly into the station like a prey- laden monster into its lair.
    • 1917, Rose Wilder Lane, Henry Ford’s Own Story:
      Then the sparks flew from the anvil while the great hammer clanged on the metal, shaping it, and Henry begged to be allowed to try it

Derived terms[edit]