verb (used with object)

to supply or strengthen with cleats; fasten to or with a cleat.

Origin of cleat

1350–1400; Middle English clete wedge, cognate with Old High German klōz lump, ball, Dutch kloot; akin to clot Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cleat

Historical Examples of cleat

  • This plate is soldered to the shank of the screw-eye and the cleat is complete.

    Boys' Book of Model Boats

    Raymond Francis Yates

  • Now to get a cleat or something across that window so we can take the rope with us!

  • Harvey saw half a dozen knives stuck in a cleat in the hatch combing.

    "Captains Courageous"

    Rudyard Kipling

  • To let go altogether, instead of lowering with a turn on a cleat or bitt-head.

    The Sailor's Word-Book

    William Henry Smyth

  • The posts and cleat are surfaced on four sides, while the other pieces are surfaced on only two sides.

    Mission Furniture

    H. H. Windsor

British Dictionary definitions for cleat



a wedge-shaped block, usually of wood, attached to a structure to act as a support
a device consisting of two hornlike prongs projecting horizontally in opposite directions from a central base, used for securing lines on vessels, wharves, etc
a short length of angle iron used as a bracket
a piece of metal, leather, etc, attached to the sole of a shoe to prevent wear or slipping
a small triangular-shaped nail used in glazing
any of the main cleavage planes in a coal seam

verb (tr)

to supply or support with a cleat or cleats
to secure (a line) on a cleat

Word Origin for cleat

C14: of Germanic origin, compare Old High German chlōz clod, lump, Dutch kloot ball
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

Word Origin and History for cleat

c.1300, clete "wedge," from Old English *cleat "a lump," from West Germanic *klaut "firm lump" (cf. Middle Low German klot, klute, Middle Dutch cloot, Dutch kloot, Old High German kloz, German kloß "clod, dumpling"). In Middle English, a wedge of wood bolted to a spar, etc., to keep it from slipping (late 14c.). Meaning "thin metal plate for shoes, etc." is c.1825.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper