[ kling ]
See synonyms for: clingclingingclung on

verb (used without object),clung [kluhng], /klʌŋ/, cling·ing.
  1. to adhere closely; stick to: The wet paper clings to the glass.

  2. to hold tight, as by grasping or embracing; cleave: The children clung to each other in the dark.

  1. to be or remain close: The child clung to her mother's side.

  2. to remain attached, as to an idea, hope, memory, etc.: Despite the predictions, the candidate clung to the belief that he would be elected.

  3. to cohere.

  1. the act of clinging; adherence; attachment.

Origin of cling

First recorded before 900; Middle English clingen, Old English clingan “to stick together, shrink, wither”; akin to clench

Other words for cling

Other words from cling

  • clinger, noun
  • cling·ing·ly, adverb
  • cling·ing·ness, noun
  • un·cling·ing, adjective

Other definitions for cling (2 of 2)

[ kling ]


Origin of cling

1835–45; by shortening from clingstone, or special use of cling1 (noun) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use cling in a sentence

  • The boys were tumbling about, clinging to his legs, imploring that numerous things be brought back to them.

  • Was it his moment of iron self-mastery that brought her with outstretched, clinging arms towards him?

    The Wave | Algernon Blackwood
  • "No," said the Bull over his shoulder as he lifted his hind legs from the clinging mud and cleared his nostrils.

  • Crossing the heath, her pathway lay near the spot where she had been found, clinging to the bosom of her dead mother.

    The World Before Them | Susanna Moodie
  • Matt, clinging like grim death to the stout hemp, was jerked into the air and hurled forward and inward.

    Motor Matt's "Century" Run | Stanley R. Matthews

British Dictionary definitions for cling


/ (klɪŋ) /

verbclings, clinging or clung (intr)
  1. (often foll by to) to hold fast or adhere closely (to something), as by gripping or sticking

  2. (foll by together) to remain in contact (with each other)

  1. to be or remain physically or emotionally close: to cling to outmoded beliefs

  1. agriculture, mainly US the tendency of cotton fibres in a sample to stick to each other

  2. agriculture obsolete diarrhoea or scouring in animals

  1. short for clingstone

Origin of cling

Old English clingan; related to clench

Derived forms of cling

  • clinging, adjective
  • clinger, noun
  • clingingly, adverb
  • clingy, adjective
  • clinginess or clingingness, noun

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