From Middle English clokken, clocken, from Old English cloccian (“to cluck, make a noise”), from Proto-Germanic *klukkwōną (“to make a sound, cluck”), of imitative origin. Cognate with Scots clok, clock (“to cluck”), Dutch klokken (“to cluck”), Low German klucken (“to cluck”), German glucken (“to cluck”), Danish klukke (“to cluck”), Swedish klucka (“to cluck”), Icelandic klökkva (“to sob, whine, cluck”).
cluck (plural clucks)
- The sound made by a hen, especially when brooding, or calling her chicks.
- Any sound similar to this.
- A kind of tongue click used to urge on a horse.
- (intransitive) To make such a sound.
- 1886, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, H.L. Brækstad, transl., Folk and Fairy Tales, page 72:
- "I came across him once," he continued, "when he was playing down on the main road to Skaug; there he sat in the middle of the road with a lot of hens around him, I counted seven, and there were more round about in the wood, for I heard them clucking and calling behind every bush."
- (transitive) To cause (the tongue) to make a clicking sound.
- My mother clucked her tongue in disapproval.
- To call together, or call to follow, as a hen does her chickens.
- c. 1608–1609 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedy of Coriolanus”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act V, scene iii]:
- When she, poor hen, fond of no second brood,
Has clucked thee to the wars and safely home.
- (Britain, drug slang) to suffer withdrawal from heroin.