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From Middle English clete, from Old English *clēat, clēot, from Proto-Germanic *klautaz (firm lump), from Proto-Indo-European *gelewd-, from *gley- (to glue, stick together, form into a ball). Cognate with Dutch kloot (ball; testicle) and German Kloß. See also clay and clout.


  • enPR: klēt, IPA(key): /kliːt/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːt


cleat (plural cleats)

  1. A strip of wood or iron fastened on transversely to something in order to give strength, prevent warping, hold position, etc.
  2. A continuous metal strip, or angled piece, used to secure metal components.
  3. (nautical) A device to quickly affix a line or rope, and from which it is also easy to release.
    Nautical cleat
  4. A protrusion on the bottom of a shoe or wheel meant for better traction.
  5. An athletic shoe equipped with cleats.
    • 2020, Allyssa Loya, Sporty Bugs and Errors, page 26:
      He needs to put on five pieces of gear: his helmet, left glove, right glove, left cleat, and right cleat.

Derived terms[edit]



cleat (third-person singular simple present cleats, present participle cleating, simple past and past participle cleated)

  1. To strengthen with a cleat.
  2. (nautical) To tie off, affix, stopper a line or rope, especially to a cleat.