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clinging vine

noun, Informal.
a person who behaves in a helpless and dependent manner in relationships with others.
Origin of clinging vine
An Americanism dating back to 1960-65 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for clinging vine
Historical Examples
  • Occasionally some exclamation told that he might have clumsily stumbled over a root or a clinging vine.

  • Doris Cleveland was too buoyantly healthy to be a clinging vine.

    The Hidden Places Bertrand W. Sinclair
  • Human nature is a clinging vine at best, and I don't want it clinging about me.

    Dennison Grant Robert Stead
  • She would never be a clinging vine; she was rather like a rose high on a trellis—a man must reach up to draw her to him.

    Mistress Anne Temple Bailey
  • So the plane-tree, too, keeps fresh and green its leafy dress, Till its trunk is smothered in a clinging vine's caress.

    Early Plays Henrik Ibsen
  • Closana, daughter of Rupin-Sang, was feminine enough but there was nothing of the clinging vine about her!

    The Golden Amazons of Venus John Murray Reynolds
  • The man whose wife is a clinging vine is apt to be like the oaks in the forest that are found wrapped in vines—dead at the top.

  • There was a determination and conviction in Helen's tone much at variance with the masculine theory of the clinging vine.

    I Walked in Arden Jack Crawford
  • I mean the fragile, lady landlady, the clinging vine bereft of the supporting husband oak.

    Turns about Town Robert Cortes Holliday
  • To the making of man go all things, even to the instincts of the clinging vine.

    Paul Kelver Jerome Klapka, AKA Jerome K. Jerome
British Dictionary definitions for clinging vine

clinging vine

(US & Canadian, informal) a woman who displays excessive emotional dependence on a man
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Idioms and Phrases with clinging vine

clinging vine

An overly dependent person, as in A clinging vine since her marriage, she's never made a decision on her own. Nearly always applied to a woman (or wife), this metaphor for a climbing plant today criticizes dependency rather than, as in former times, praising the vine's fruitfulness.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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