• synonyms


  1. a wedge-shaped block fastened to a surface to serve as a check or support: He nailed cleats into the sides of the bookcase to keep the supports from slipping.
  2. a strip of metal, wood, or the like, fastened across a surface, as a ramp or gangway, to provide sure footing or to maintain an object in place.
  3. a strip of wood, metal, etc., fastened across a surface, as of a plank or series of adjacent planks, for strength or support.
  4. a conical or rectangular projection, usually of hard rubber, or a metal strip with sharp projections, built into or attached to the sole of a shoe to provide greater traction.
  5. a shoe fitted with such projections.
  6. a metal plate fastened to the sole or heel of a shoe, to protect against wear.
  7. Shipbuilding. a hook-shaped piece of metal supporting a small structural member.
  8. Also called belaying cleat. Nautical. an object of wood or metal having one or two projecting horns to which ropes may be belayed, especially as fixed to the deck, bulkhead, or stanchion of a vessel.
  9. the cleavage plane of coal as found in a mine.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to supply or strengthen with cleats; fasten to or with a cleat.
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Origin of cleat

1350–1400; Middle English clete wedge, cognate with Old High German klōz lump, ball, Dutch kloot; akin to clot
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cleated

Historical Examples of cleated

  • A large one of the latter, cleated in the centre of the floor, does service as a table.

    The Flag of Distress

    Mayne Reid

  • Some were floating against the roof, and some were entangled in the cleated chairs.

  • One end of the private-car was a luxurious stable, in which the white horse climbed along a cleated gang-way.

  • In another moment the timber under him was splitting and giving way at the cleated join, and sagging threateningly.

  • A breathless hush—the shrill whistle of the referee—the thump of cleated shoe against the ball and the game was on.

British Dictionary definitions for cleated


  1. a wedge-shaped block, usually of wood, attached to a structure to act as a support
  2. a device consisting of two hornlike prongs projecting horizontally in opposite directions from a central base, used for securing lines on vessels, wharves, etc
  3. a short length of angle iron used as a bracket
  4. a piece of metal, leather, etc, attached to the sole of a shoe to prevent wear or slipping
  5. a small triangular-shaped nail used in glazing
  6. any of the main cleavage planes in a coal seam
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verb (tr)
  1. to supply or support with a cleat or cleats
  2. to secure (a line) on a cleat
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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 cleated



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper