\ˈklinch \
clinched; clinching; clinches

Definition of clinch 

(Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

2a : to turn over or flatten the protruding pointed end of (a driven nail) also : to treat (a screw, a bolt, a rivet, etc.) in a similar way

b : to fasten in this way

3a : to make final or irrefutable : settle that clinched the argument

b : to assure the winning of scored a touchdown to clinch the game

intransitive verb

1 : to hold an opponent (as in boxing) at close quarters with one or both arms

2 : to hold fast or firmly



Definition of clinch (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a fastening by means of a clinched nail, rivet, or bolt also : the clinched part of a nail, rivet, or bolt

2 archaic : pun

3 : an act or instance of clinching in boxing

4 : embrace


geographical name
\ˈklinch \

Definition of Clinch (Entry 3 of 3)

river about 300 miles (480 kilometers) long in southwestern Virginia and eastern Tennessee flowing southwest into the Tennessee River

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Other Words from clinch


clinchingly \ ˈklin-​chiŋ-​lē \ adverb

Synonyms for clinch

Synonyms: Verb

decide, determine, nail, settle

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Examples of clinch in a Sentence


His home run clinched the victory. The new evidence clinches the case. Her work on the project should clinch her a promotion. The photos of the city have clinched it for me. I have to visit Prague. If they win tonight's game they'll clinch the pennant.


The referee told the boxers to break their clinch.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The last time Escobar had missed a game was Sept. 25, 2015, and that was only because Yost rested all of his starters the day after the Royals clinched the division. Paul Sullivan,, "Clubhouse policeman Bud Norris creating latest controversy in St. Louis," 14 July 2018 Sure enough, Golden State whipped Cleveland in Game 4 Friday 108-85, clinching its third world championship in four years, and beating James’ Cavs for the third time in four years. Langston Wertz Jr., charlotteobserver, "It’s a sweep! Golden State brushes away LeBron, Cavs in NBA Finals. Social media reacts," 8 June 2018 Green hit the first of two free throws to clinch the victory, and then presumably walked out of the arena in a suit tailored for a man 6 inches shorter. Gregg Doyel, Indianapolis Star, "Doyel: LeBron James, Cavs keep undressing Pacers in first quarter," 22 Apr. 2018 With the victory, the Tigers clinched the District 7-5A title and will try to claim an undefeated district record next week. Joseph Halm,, "Hahnville 14, Destrehan 0: Karly Taranto throws 2-hitter as Tigers offense roars in 5-inning district win," 5 Apr. 2018 The Wild are very close to clinching a playoff spot and helped their cause with a 3-0 victory against the Edmonton Oilers on Monday. Mike Brehm, USA TODAY, "Ryan Suter's broken ankle hurts Minnesota Wild's hopes for a playoff run," 2 Apr. 2018 The Jayhawks just clinched a share of their 14th-consecutive Big 12 title and held off the Longhorns in Austin back on Dec. 29. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, "Taking down No. 8 Kansas could secure tournament bid for Texas," 25 Feb. 2018 Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones has clinched a third term in office. Ryan Lillis, sacbee, "Scott Jones clinches third term as Sacramento County sheriff," 20 June 2018 Japan’s supporters — who traveled all the way to Russia to watch an Asian team beat a South American team for the first time ever at a World Cup — didn’t start partying once Japan clinched its 2-1 victory. Alex Ward, Vox, "Japanese World Cup fans cleaned up the stadium after they won. Now others are doing it.," 20 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Nguyen is more active with strikes in the clinch, landing knees and punches. Todd Martin,, "Jussier Formiga vs. Ben Nguyen live round-by-round coverage," 11 Feb. 2018 Breathing heavily to start the third, Punk came forward and immediately moved into the clinch. John Morgan, USA TODAY, "CM Punk falls to Mike Jackson via decision at UFC 225," 9 June 2018 City have the chance to sew up the Premier League title against their bitter rivals at the Etihad Stadium with a win - which would be the earliest clinch in the competition's history., "Pep Guardiola Set to Rest Key Stars Against Man Utd as They Prioritise Crucial UCL Clash," 3 Apr. 2018 Font lands a hard straight right hand shortly thereafter and clinches. Todd Martin,, "Thomas Almeida vs. Rob Font live round-by-round coverage," 21 Jan. 2018 After a little bit at range, Wilkinson goes back to the clinch. Todd Martin,, "Israel Adesanya vs. Rob Wilkinson live round-by-round coverage," 11 Feb. 2018 Brexit, warning their leader, Prime Minister Theresa May, in a public letter not to cave during upcoming clinch negotiations with Brussels. Washington Post, "Theresa May wines and dines her Brexit ‘war cabinet’ in a bid to hash out a policy," 22 Feb. 2018 Quinonez clinches but eats a strong right hand and left hand late. Todd Martin,, "Jose Quinonez vs. Teruto Ishihara live round-by-round coverage," 11 Feb. 2018 Two-time defending 6A champ Duncanville clinches and will go for an 11th championship at the Alamodome. Brian Gosset, star-telegram, "Three things I think, three things I know about high school sports | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 21 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'clinch.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of clinch


1542, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1659, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for clinch


probably alteration of clench

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Statistics for clinch

Last Updated

10 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for clinch

The first known use of clinch was in 1542

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More Definitions for clinch



English Language Learners Definition of clinch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to make (something) certain or final

: to make certain the winning of (something)

: to hold each other closely during a fight



English Language Learners Definition of clinch (Entry 2 of 2)

: a position in which two people (such as two boxers) are holding each other very closely


\ˈklinch \
clinched; clinching

Kids Definition of clinch

: to show to be certain or true She presented facts that clinched the argument.

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