verb (used without object)

to utter the cry of a hen brooding or calling her chicks.
to make a similar sound; express concern, approval, etc., by such a sound.

verb (used with object)

to call or utter by clucking.


the sound uttered by a hen when brooding, or in calling her chicks.
any clucking sound.

Origin of cluck

1475–85; variant of clock1 (now dial. and Scot), Middle English clokken, Old English cloccian to cluck; cognate with Dutch klokken



noun Slang.

a dull-witted, stupid person; blockhead; dolt.

Origin of cluck

1900–05, Americanism; special use of cluck1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cluck

Contemporary Examples of cluck

Historical Examples of cluck

  • Whenever they get hungry, the mamma hen will come to the door of the house and cluck.

  • While feeding it utters a low-sounding cluck, cluck, at short intervals.

    The Western World

    W.H.G. Kingston

  • I know all the birds say when they twitter and chirp, caw and coo, gobble and cluck.

    Europa's Fairy Book

    Joseph Jacobs

  • She can cluck, cluck them close up to her, and often she catches them.


    Mary Louisa Stewart Molesworth

  • There they sit for a short time, when their leader gives a loud “cluck.”

    With Axe and Rifle

    W.H.G. Kingston

British Dictionary definitions for cluck



the low clicking sound made by a hen or any similar sound


(intr) (of a hen) to make a clicking sound
(tr) to call or express (a feeling) by making a similar sound

Word Origin for cluck

C17: of imitative origin
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 cluck

Old English cloccian originally echoic. Cf. Turkish culuk, one of the words for "turkey;" Greek klozein, Latin glocire, German glucken. Related: Clucked; clucking.


1703, "sound made by a hen," from cluck (v.). Slang meaning "stupid person" (turkeys are famously foolish) is from 1927.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper