See more synonyms for clinch on
verb (used with object)
  1. to settle (a matter) decisively: After they clinched the deal they went out to celebrate.
  2. to secure (a nail, screw, etc.) in position by beating down the protruding point: He drove the nails through the board and clinched the points flat with a hammer.
  3. to fasten (objects) together by nails, screws, etc., secured in this manner.
  4. Nautical. to fasten by a clinch.
verb (used without object)
  1. Boxing. to engage in a clinch: The boxers clinched and were separated by the referee.
  2. Slang. to embrace, especially passionately.
  3. (of a clinched nail, screw, etc.) to hold fast; be secure.
  1. the act of clinching.
  2. Boxing. an act or instance of one or both boxers holding the other about the arms or body in order to prevent or hinder the opponent's punches.
  3. Slang. a passionate embrace.
  4. a clinched nail or fastening.
  5. the bent part of a clinched nail, screw, etc.
  6. a knot or bend in which a bight or eye is made by making a loop or turn in the rope and seizing the end to the standing part.
  7. Archaic. a pun.
Also clench (for defs 1–4, 9, 11, 12).

Origin of clinch

First recorded in 1560–70; later variant of Middle English clench
Related formsclinch·ing·ly, adverb
Can be confusedclench clinch

Synonyms for clinch

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for clinch

Contemporary Examples of clinch

Historical Examples of clinch

  • Still, just to clinch the thing, we'll calcine him, gin-house and all.

    The Cavalier

    George Washington Cable

  • Say but the word, and we'll have another flagon of sack to clinch the bargain.'

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • "We must clinch our victory, men," Hilary shouted above the roar of the elements.

    Slaves of Mercury

    Nat Schachner

  • He struck his cane on the floor as he spoke, and grasped it firmer, as if to clinch his remark.

  • Then he added as though to clinch his statement, “not by a sight.”

British Dictionary definitions for clinch


  1. (tr) to secure (a driven nail) by bending the protruding point over
  2. (tr) to hold together in such a mannerto clinch the corners of the frame
  3. (tr) to settle (something, such as an argument, bargain, etc) in a definite way
  4. (tr) nautical to fasten by means of a clinch
  5. (intr) to engage in a clinch, as in boxing or wrestling
  1. the act of clinching
    1. a nail with its point bent over
    2. the part of such a nail, etc, that has been bent over
  2. boxing wrestling an act or an instance in which one or both competitors hold on to the other to avoid punches, regain wind, etc
  3. slang a lovers' embrace
  4. nautical a loop or eye formed in a line by seizing the end to the standing part.
Also (for senses 1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 10): clench

Word Origin for clinch

C16: variant of clench
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 clinch

1560s, "clasp, interlock," especially with a bent nail, variant of clench. The sense of "settle decisively" is first recorded 1716, from the notion of "clinching" the point of a nail to keep it fast. Boxing sense is from 1860. Related: Clinched; clinching.


1620s, "method of fastening," from clinch (v.). Meaning "a fastening by bent nail" is from 1650s. In pugilism, from 1875.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper