verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)


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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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



(tr) to secure (a driven nail) by bending the protruding point over
(tr) to hold together in such a mannerto clinch the corners of the frame
(tr) to settle (something, such as an argument, bargain, etc) in a definite way
(tr) nautical to fasten by means of a clinch
(intr) to engage in a clinch, as in boxing or wrestling


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
boxing wrestling an act or an instance in which one or both competitors hold on to the other to avoid punches, regain wind, etc
slang a lovers' embrace
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