- a blow, especially with the hand; cuff: The bully gave him a painful clout on the head.
- Informal. pull; strong influence; muscle, especially political power: a wealthy campaign contributor with clout at city hall.
- Baseball. a long hit, especially an extra-base hit: A hard clout to deep center field drove in the winning run.
- the mark or target shot at, especially in long-distance shooting.
- a shot that hits the mark.
- Also called clout nail. a nail for attaching sheet metal to wood, having a short shank with a broad head.
- 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).
- to strike, especially with the hand; cuff.
- to bandage.
- to patch; mend.
Origin of clout
- informal a blow with the hand or a hard object
- power or influence, esp in politics
- the target used in long-distance shooting
- the centre of this target
- a shot that hits the centre
- Also called: clout nail a short, flat-headed nail used esp for attaching sheet metal to wood
- British dialect
- a piece of clotha dish clout
- a garment
- a patch
- informal to give a hard blow to, esp with the hand
- to patch with a piece of cloth or leather
Word Origin for clout
Old English clut "lump of something," also "patch of cloth put over a hole to mend it," from Proto-Germanic *klutaz (cf. Old Norse klute "kerchief," Danish klud "rag, tatter," Frisian klut "lump," Dutch kluit "clod, lump"); perhaps related to clot (v.).
In later use "a handkerchief," also "a woman's sanitary napkin." Sense of "a blow" is from c.1400 early 14c., from the verb. Sense of "personal influence" is 1958, on the notion of "punch, force."
"to beat, strike," early 14c., from clout (n.), perhaps on the notion of hitting someone with a lump of something, or from the "patch of cloth" sense of that word (cf. clout (v.) "to patch, mend," mid-14c.). Related: Clouted; clouting.