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[klingk] /klɪŋk/
verb (used with or without object)
to make or cause to make a light, sharp, ringing sound:
The coins clinked together. He clinked the fork against a glass.
a clinking sound.
Metallurgy. a small crack in a steel ingot resulting from uneven expanding or contracting.
a pointed steel bar for breaking up road surfaces.
Archaic. a rhyme; jingle.
Origin of clink1
1275-1325; Middle English clinken, perhaps < Middle Dutch clinken to sound, ring, resound Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for clinking
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • From the adjoining room, the clinking of cups and saucers told him that breakfast was going on.

    The Locusts' Years Mary Helen Fee
  • The wheat sack with its clinking contents was cast into the open hatch.

    Lady Luck Hugh Wiley
  • "There is nothing but clinking of cans and swaggering speeches where you are, Captain Dauntrees," said the hostess.

  • As he passed the tea tables he heard the clinking of ice in glasses.

    Spring Street James H. Richardson
  • The etiquette in regard to the German custom of clinking glasses is very well defined.

    Dinners and Luncheons Paul Pierce
  • Again the storm of arrows beat upon them clinking and thudding on the armor.

    Sir Nigel Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Even as he stood in a tremor of excitement, he heard the clinking of drinking-vessels from below; the khansaman was returning.

    Barclay of the Guides Herbert Strang
British Dictionary definitions for clinking


to make or cause to make a light and sharply ringing sound
a light and sharply ringing sound
(Brit) a pointed steel tool used for breaking up the surface of a road before it is repaired
Word Origin
C14: perhaps from Middle Dutch klinken; related to Old Low German chlanch, German Klang sound


a slang word for prison
Word Origin
C16: after Clink, name of a prison in Southwark, London
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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Word Origin and History for clinking



early 14c., echoic (cf. Dutch klinken, Old High German klingan, German klingen). Related: Clinked; clinking. The noun in the sound sense is from c.1400.


"sharp, ringing sound made by collision of sonorous (especially metallic) bodies," c.1400, from clink (v.).

"prison," 1770s, apparently originally (early 16c.) the Clynke on Clink Street in Southwark, on the estate of the bishops of Winchester. To kiss the clink "to be imprisoned" is from 1580s, and the word and the prison name might be cognate derivatives of the sound made by chains or metal locks (see clink (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for clinking



A black person; brother (Black)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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