verb (used with or without object)

to make or cause to make a light, sharp, ringing sound: The coins clinked together. He clinked the fork against a glass.


a clinking sound.
Metallurgy. a small crack in a steel ingot resulting from uneven expanding or contracting.
a pointed steel bar for breaking up road surfaces.
Archaic. a rhyme; jingle.

Nearby words

  1. clinically dead,
  2. clinically obese,
  3. clinician,
  4. clinicopathologic,
  5. clinid,
  6. clinker,
  7. clinker-built,
  8. clinkety-clank,
  9. clinkstone,
  10. clino-

Origin of clink

1275–1325; Middle English clinken, perhaps < Middle Dutch clinken to sound, ring, resound Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for clinking

British Dictionary definitions for clinking




to make or cause to make a light and sharply ringing sound


a light and sharply ringing sound
British a pointed steel tool used for breaking up the surface of a road before it is repaired

Word Origin for clink

C14: perhaps from Middle Dutch klinken; related to Old Low German chlanch, German Klang sound




a slang word for prison

Word Origin for clink

C16: after Clink, name of a prison in Southwark, London

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 clinking
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper