- the mark or target shot at, especially in long-distance shooting.
- a shot that hits the mark.
- a patch or piece of cloth or other material used to mend something.
- any worthless piece of cloth; rag.
- an article of clothing (usually used contemptuously).
verb (used with object)
- to bandage.
- to patch; mend.
VIDEO FOR CLOUT
WATCH NOW: How The Word "Clout" Took Over The Internet
Today, the slang "clout" is like a mix of popularity and power on social media. So, what does it mean?
QUIZ YOURSELF ON “ITS” VS. “IT’S”!
Origin of clout
OTHER WORDS FROM cloutclouter, noun
Words nearby clout
ABOUT THIS WORD
What else does clout mean?
To have clout is to have influence or power. In popular culture, people with clout are seen as popular and cool.
Where did the term clout come from?
Clout long predates Instagram. The slang appears as early as the 1860s for “political influence,” apparently based on a centuries-old sense of clout meaning “punch” or “force.” A person with clout can get things done on Capitol Hill or Wall Street.
Clout got new life in the 2000s with the rise of social media. Launching in 2008, an app called Klout calculated a person’s social-media influence with a so-called Klout score. Have a lot of followers and get a lot of likes? You’ve got clout. People are paying attention to you.
Clout spread in the 2010s as a more general slang term meaning popularity and coolness, not unlike having swag or cred or being an influencer. Wearing a Supreme tee, some fresh kicks, and a pair of white, round sunglasses? You’re hip. You’re on point. You’ve got clout.
Speaking of white, round sunglasses, rapper Denzel Curry memorably called them his Clout Goggles. As we noted in our entry for the term, the glasses, iconically worn by rocker Kurt Cobain in the 1990s, “demand a confident but countercultural wearer.” Hip-hop artists in the early 2010s like Lil Yachty, Wiz Khalifa, and the aforementioned Denzel Curry—all of whom have clout, we could say—helped repopularize them.
How to use the term clout
While the political sway of most rappers is debatable, there’s no doubt they influence social media and popular culture. Clout lives in those interconnected realms, where wearing those famed Clout Goggles can get you a lot of likes on Instagram. Rappers have so much clout, we could say, that they helped make clout a trendy slang term.
Clout can be used ironically, though, as internet clout can’t always be cashed in on IRL. Clout chasers, or those that do things just to project a hipper persona on social media, are greatly disliked, deemed superficial and fake.
He is clout chasing. His music hasn’t sold in years. He’s desperate to pop again. He can say what he wants, but what he’s doing is the true definition of clout chasing. https://t.co/UF6UTkbcWt
— breezega (@breezega) January 28, 2019
And if you do have clout? Don’t go proclaiming it or you might find yourself without it—unless your Denzel Curry. He can boast about his clout all he wants.
— Carlo (@itsyaboicarlo) January 28, 2019
Clout is a dangerous drug! Kids grow up addicted to it before they get to develop morals an principals these days 😔 social media wicked
— Millyz (@MILLYZ) January 13, 2019
Clout, as a more general term for a person’s influence and power especially in domains like politics and business, still remains in wide use.
More examples of clout:
“RiceGum is continuing to take shots at Klein, further addressing the issue in a vlog published on January 11. Le hit back at claims of ‘clout-chasing’ due to using both Klein’s and PewDiePie’s images in the thumbnail of his apology video, as well as using PewDiePie’s name in the title (which was later removed).”
—Virginia Glaze, Dexerto, January 2019
This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.
Example sentences from the Web for clout
One thing the data showed was that the league’s low positivity rate wasn’t just accomplished with deep pockets and clout, though it used both of those.The NFL’s pandemic response was a striking success — and a genuine public service|Sally Jenkins|February 10, 2021|Washington Post
Amazon has repeatedly denied it uses its market clout to compete unfairly.Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos‘s successor will inherit his challenges|Jay Greene, Cat Zakrzewski|February 4, 2021|Washington Post
Last summer, Bezos was summoned to Capitol Hill to testify virtually alongside the CEOs of Apple, Google and Facebook before a House antitrust subcommittee investigation on the clout of the tech behemoths.Jeff Bezos stepping down as Amazon CEO, transitioning to executive chair role|Jay Greene, Tony Romm|February 4, 2021|Washington Post
As much as I appreciate high-caliber content, I shudder at the prospect of a world where a16z carries more media clout than the Times or the Wall Street Journal.Tech and crypto funder Andreessen Horowitz wants to replace the media. Is that bad news?|Jeff Roberts|January 20, 2021|Fortune
Tuesday’s Georgia runoff elections could hand Democrats an effective majority in the Senate, providing them somewhat more clout to set a health-care agenda.Pair of Georgia runoff races are razor close with U.S. Senate control at stake|Felicia Sonmez, Colby Itkowitz, John Wagner, Paulina Firozi, Amy B Wang|January 6, 2021|Washington Post
The great migration to the North through World War II had given black people at least some clout as they began to vote Democratic.
But the two also could abstain from caucusing with either party and possibly have even more clout.The Independents Who Could Tip the Senate in November|Linda Killian|October 13, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Military victory always gives a field commander added clout with his civilian overseers.
CrowdMed is also a system where Ivy League diplomas and prestigious residencies carry no clout.Strangers Diagnose Your Illness and Get Cash in Return|Kevin Zawacki|August 15, 2014|DAILY BEAST
If my side had had real clout, there would have been no Iraq War.Awkward: This Democratic Judicial Candidate's Husband Is a White Supremacist|Gideon Resnick|August 11, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Skelton mentions rochets 'of fyne Raynes'; Colin Clout, 316.Chaucer's Works, Volume 1 (of 7) -- Romaunt of the Rose; Minor Poems|Geoffrey Chaucer
Joe thought the fellow was loafing, so he hit him a clout on the head, and made very uncomplimentary remarks.The Chequers|James Runciman
The Nubian wore black tights and shirt, black slippers and a white skull cap and breech-clout.Fifty Contemporary One-Act Plays|Various
What, he that weares a clout about his necke,His cuffes ins pocket, and his heart ins mouth?The Fatal Dowry|Philip Massinger
There are instances, however, of clout in the sense of a plate of iron fastened on the sole of a shoe.Milton's Comus|John Milton
British Dictionary definitions for clout
- the target used in long-distance shooting
- the centre of this target
- a shot that hits the centre
- a piece of clotha dish clout
- a garment
- a patch