\ ˈklinch How to pronounce clinch (audio) \
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


geographical name
\ ˈklinch How to pronounce Clinch (audio) \

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 How to pronounce clinchingly (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms for clinch

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of clinch in a Sentence

Verb 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. Noun The referee told the boxers to break their clinch.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Newsfeed Ray Romano Attracted Plenty of Attention at the 2020 Oscars The Best Picture win was Parasite‘s fourth of the night, after clinching Best Director, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Original Screenplay. Rachel E. Greenspan, Time, "Bong Joon-ho Couldn't Help Steal a Glance at His Oscar for a Moment and No One Can Look Away Either," 10 Feb. 2020 Kingwood High School’s days as a District 22-6A opponent are numbered and so is their number for clinching a coveted state playoff berth. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Eagles unable to give Kingwood sour sendoff from 22-6A after 57-48 loss," 4 Feb. 2020 Turner Thorne chose to play defense instead of fouling after a timeout, and UCLA forward Michaela Onyenwere scored on a game-clinching layup with 53 seconds left. Jeff Metcalfe, azcentral, "Tired No. 19 Arizona State women fall to No. 8 UCLA," 2 Feb. 2020 Jennings is on the verge of clinching victory, having already won twice. Adam Epstein, Quartz, "The “Jeopardy: Greatest of All Time” tournament is bigger than most American sports," 14 Jan. 2020 In February 2008 - with the eventual nominee Barack Obama still months away from clinching the Democratic nomination - CBS polling showed Senator Obama (50%) with a 12-point lead over Senator John McCain (38%). CBS News, "CBS News Eye on Trends: The latest from the Election & Survey Unit," 7 Jan. 2020 Less than two weeks later in East Lansing, needing another victory for a share of the regular-season title, Winston dropped 16 of his 23 points in a game-clinching 20-2 run. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "How Cassius Winston and Zavier Simpson have made MSU vs. U-M a one-on-one matchup," 5 Jan. 2020 The Knights earned an automatic bid to this year’s tournament after clinching the American Athletic Conference championship last month, defeating Cincinnati 3-2 at The Venue in the conference’s inaugural tournament., "UCF volleyball to face FSU in Gainesville in first round of NCAA Tournament," 24 Nov. 2019 The Braves, at 94-60, are a win away from clinching the National League East with more than a week left in the regular season. Kerry Crowley, The Mercury News, "Giants’ reliance on one-run wins could be a sign of future trouble," 20 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Calderwood clinches but Chookagian brushes her off. Todd Martin,, "UFC 238 live updates: Henry Cejudo vs. Marlon Moraes," 8 June 2019 Green Bay clinches if 49ers win or tie New Orleans clinches if 49ers lose No. Joe Nguyen, The Denver Post, "2019 NFL playoff picture," 29 Dec. 2019 The former featherweight champion landed big shots on the champion, including a head kick, a jumping knee, and strikes from the clinch. Nolan King, MMA Junkie, "UFC 245 results: Amanda Nunes earns decision over game Germaine de Randamie," 15 Dec. 2019 Despite landing hard, Silva recovers well in a clinch. Todd Martin, Los Angeles Times, "UFC 243 recap: Israel Adesanya knocks out Robert Whittaker in second round," 5 Oct. 2019 With about 40 seconds left in the third round, Tyson bit a chunk off Holyfield’s right ear during a clinch and spit it onto the canvas. Mark Inabinett |, al, "Alabama 200: State’s sports history littered with amazing, memorable moments," 27 Nov. 2019 Auto racing Hemric clinches pole for NASCAR race Daniel Hemric gave his hopes of landing a Cup Series ride for next season some help by taking his No., "Kelechi Osemele," 20 Oct. 2019 Tuesday, the appetizer was consumed, the earliest clinch since their division domination commenced in 2013. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "Los Angeles Dodgers clinch seventh consecutive NL West title with weeks to spare," 6 Sep. 2019 At 102 wins, the Yankees are still vying for ultimate home field advantage with the Houston Astros (who also have 102 wins), so competitive fire may sober out any clinch-day hangovers. Shayna Rubin, The Mercury News, "How the Athletics’, Rays’ and Indians’ schedules impact the wild-card race," 23 Sep. 2019

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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Time Traveler for clinch

Time Traveler

The first known use of clinch was in 1542

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Statistics for clinch

Last Updated

17 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Clinch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for clinch


How to pronounce Clinch (audio)

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 How to pronounce clinch (audio) \
clinched; clinching

Kids Definition of clinch

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on clinch

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for clinch

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with clinch

Spanish Central: Translation of clinch

Nglish: Translation of clinch for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of clinch for Arabic Speakers

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