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  • IPA(key): /ˈklɪŋ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪŋ

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English clingen, from Old English clingan (to adhere), from Proto-West Germanic *klingan, from Proto-Germanic *klinganą. Cognate with Danish klynge (to cluster, to crowd). Compare clump.


cling (plural clings)

  1. Fruit (especially peach) whose flesh adheres strongly to the pit.
    • 1908, O. Henry, Hostages to Momus:
      Antelope steaks and fried liver to begin on, and venison cutlets with chili con carne and pineapple fritters, and then some sardines and mixed pickles; and top it off with a can of yellow clings and a bottle of beer.
  2. adherence; attachment; devotion


cling (third-person singular simple present clings, present participle clinging, simple past and past participle clung or (nonstandard) clinged or (obsolete) clong)

  1. To hold very tightly, as to not fall off.
    Synonyms: clinch, grip; see also Thesaurus:grasp
    Seaweed clung to the anchor.
    • 2017, Jennifer S. Holland, For These Monkeys, It’s a Fight for Survival., National Geographic (March 2017)[1]
      Cartoonish, wide-eyed infants cling to their mothers or play together low to the ground.
    • 1823, Felicia Dorothea Browne Hemans, The Vespers of Palermo[2], Act the First:
      And what hath life for thee / That thou shouldst cling to it thus?
  2. To adhere to an object, without being affixed, in such a way as to follow its contours. Used especially of fabrics and films.
    Synonyms: cleave, stick; see also Thesaurus:adhere
  3. (transitive) To cause to adhere to, especially by twining round or embracing.
    Synonyms: cleave, stick; see also Thesaurus:adhere
  4. (transitive) To cause to dry up or wither.
  5. (intransitive) To dry up or wither.
    Wood clings.
  6. (figuratively, with preposition to) To be fond of, to feel strongly about and dependent on.
Derived terms[edit]


  1. ^ Oxford-Paravia Concise - Dizionario Inglese-Italiano e Italiano-Inglese (in collaborazione con Oxford University Press). Edited by Maria Cristina Bareggi. Torino: Paravia, 2003. ISBN 8839551107. Online version

Etymology 2[edit]

Imitative; compare clink, clang.


cling (third-person singular simple present clings, present participle clinging, simple past and past participle clinged)

  1. To produce a high-pitched ringing sound, like a small bell.
    • 1913, Cleveland Moffett, Oliver Herford, The Bishop's Purse (page 121)
      The tiny chimes clinged the hours and quarters against his right and Kate's left ear. They counted nine and three-quarters.
    • 2003, Femi Abodunrin, The Dancing Masquerade, page 24:
      The latter, armed with the most famous tool of their trade — tiny clinging bells — created a small band of untrained orchestra giving their part of the market a festive outlook []

Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of clingen






  1. clink