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clinker1

[kling-ker]
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noun
  1. a mass of incombustible matter fused together, as in the burning of coal.
  2. a hard Dutch brick, used especially for paving.
  3. a partially vitrified mass of brick.
  4. the scale of oxide formed on iron during forging.
  5. Geology. a mass of vitrified material ejected from a volcano.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to form clinkers in burning.
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Origin of clinker1

First recorded in 1635–45, clinker is from the Dutch word klinker kind of brick, slag

clinker2

[kling-ker]
noun
  1. a person or thing that clinks.
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Origin of clinker2

First recorded in 1680–90; clink1 + -er1

clinker3

[kling-ker]
noun Slang.
  1. a wrong note in a musical performance.
  2. any mistake or error.
  3. something that is a failure; a product of inferior quality.
  4. British. someone or something wonderful or exceedingly well-liked.
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Origin of clinker3

First recorded in 1830–40; special use of clinker2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for clinker

Historical Examples

  • Clinker perceived the progress he had made, and repined in secret.

    The Expedition of Humphry Clinker

    Tobias Smollett

  • The very day after I wrote my last, Clinker was set at liberty.

  • "Well, we are here," said Artie, after Clinker's wound had been examined and dressed.

    An Undivided Union

    Oliver Optic

  • Clinker can rouse out every Unionist within two miles of here.

    An Undivided Union

    Oliver Optic

  • Soon they came in sight of General, Clinker, and one other of the slaves.

    An Undivided Union

    Oliver Optic


British Dictionary definitions for clinker

clinker

noun
  1. the ash and partially fused residues from a coal-fired furnace or fire
  2. Also called: clinker brick a hard brick used as a paving stone
  3. a partially vitrified brick or mass of brick
  4. slang, mainly US something of poor quality, such as a film
  5. US and Canadian slang a mistake or fault, esp a wrong note in music
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verb
  1. (intr) to form clinker during burning
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Word Origin

C17: from Dutch klinker a type of brick, from obsolete klinckaerd, literally: something that clinks (referring to the sound produced when one was struck), from klinken to clink 1
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 clinker

n.

"mass of slag," 1769, from klincard (1640s), a type of paving brick made in Holland, from Dutch klinkaerd, from klinken "to ring" (as it does when struck), of imitative origin. Also "a clinch-nail;" hence clinker-built (1769). The meaning "stupid mistake" is first recorded 1950 in American English; originally (1942) "a wrong note in music."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper