clout

[klout]

What does clout mean?

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To have clout is to have influence or power. In popular culture, people with clout are seen as popular and cool.

RELATED WORDS
Examples of clout

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Examples of clout
why make good tweets or good content or good anything when u can tweet im gay 24/7 and get a whole ass following and tons of clout
@nilli101_, January 2019
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
Aww Memes

Where does clout come from?

Marie Claire

Clout long predates Instagram. The slang appears 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.

RecruitingDaily

Clout spread in the 2010s as a more general slag term denoting 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.

Grailed

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.

Who uses 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.

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. 

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. We like to think, for example, we have a lot of word clout over here at Dictionary.com.

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