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clung ˈkləŋ How to pronounce cling (audio) ; clinging

intransitive verb

: to hold together
: to adhere as if glued firmly
The shirt clung to his wet shoulders.
: to hold or hold on tightly or tenaciously
The kitten clung to the narrow branch.
: to have a strong emotional attachment or dependence
he clung to his friends for support
: to remain or linger as if resisting complete spreading or scattering
The odor clung to the room for hours.
clinger noun


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plural clings
: an act or instance of clinging : adherence
: a sheet of material (such as plastic or vinyl) designed to adhere to a flat surface by static electricity and often printed with an image or message
When it's time for a new look, simply peel off the clings and store them away for another day.Lorna Hordos
Choose the Right Synonym for cling

stick, adhere, cohere, cling, cleave mean to become closely attached.

stick implies attachment by affixing or by being glued together.

couldn't get the label to stick

adhere is often interchangeable with stick but sometimes implies a growing together.

antibodies adhering to a virus

cohere suggests a sticking together of parts so that they form a unified mass.

eggs will make the mixture cohere

cling implies attachment by hanging on with arms or tendrils.

clinging to a capsized boat

cleave stresses strength of attachment.

the wet shirt cleaved to his back

Examples of cling in a Sentence

Verb The children clung together under the little umbrella waiting for the storm to pass. a dozen magnets clinging to the refrigerator Noun for certain types of materials that plastic wrap has very little cling
Recent Examples on the Web
Lively, meanwhile, clung to summer style with pieces that were colorful and vibrant (it’s been her fashion M.O. these past few weeks). Christian Allaire, Vogue, 17 Sep. 2023 Chicago Cubs cling to wild-card spot after 6-4 loss to Arizona Diamondbacks, who clinched head-to-head tiebreaker ] Fulmer won’t be eligible to come back until the final day of the regular season. Meghan Montemurro, Chicago Tribune, 16 Sep. 2023 Massachusetts State Police The trooper halfway inside the car clings to the driver’s door as the car speeds up but appears to lose his grip about 20 or 30 feet down the street, falling to the pavement and sliding a few feet. Jeremy C. Fox,, 14 Sep. 2023 But somehow, a lone Asian black bear was clinging to life in a cell when Ukrainian soldiers discovered the zoo last fall. Daniel Wu, Washington Post, 14 Sep. 2023 Salote joined in, brushing people’s hair while her son clung to her side. Corina Knoll, New York Times, 13 Sep. 2023 Fragrant leche de tigre clings to albacore ceviche. Elazar Sontag, Bon Appétit, 13 Sep. 2023 Hoover clinging to a 21-14 lead over rival Spain Park with 2:06 left in the third. Ben Thomas |, al, 8 Sep. 2023 The quality of the division has made a tough season for the Red Sox tougher, leaving them near the bottom of the pack looking up, in fourth place and clinging to an above-.500 finish. Globe Staff,, 3 Sep. 2023
To deactivate the cling, swipe a dryer sheet on the problem surface areas. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, 5 Sep. 2023 The palace and the military cling to each other ever more tightly and rule ever less competently, a political alliance in obvious decline but incapable of either retreat or reform. Andrew J. Nathan, Foreign Affairs, 24 Aug. 2021 The materials include posters, window clings, magnets, social media graphics and logos, and a pre-arrival letter disseminated to rental agencies. John Sharp |, al, 15 July 2023 With the feature, shoppers can see how an item would drape, fold, cling, stretch or form wrinkles and shadows on a diverse set of models in various poses, according to the company. Samantha Kelly, CNN, 14 June 2023 Building a tool that can mimic how real-life clothes drape, fold, cling, stretch and wrinkle starts with photographs of a range of real models with different body shapes and sizes. Charlotte Hu, Popular Science, 14 June 2023 Even so, a shameful whiff of idleness clings to the writer. Nathan Wolff, Washington Post, 13 June 2023 The starch helps the oil cling to the pasta and gives the dish a perfect — not greasy — texture. America's Test Kitchen, Chicago Tribune, 7 June 2023 Sargassum, a brown microalgae that resembles seaweed and has been expanding in the Sargasso Sea and other parts of the ocean, is an ideal host for the Vibrio, which scientists have discovered cling to plastic intermingled in the seaweed, according to a new study published in Water Research. Cara Lynn Shultz, Peoplemag, 31 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cling.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Verb and Noun

Middle English, from Old English clingan; akin to Old High German klunga tangled ball of thread

First Known Use


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


circa 1625, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of cling was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near cling

Cite this Entry

“Cling.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


; clinging
: to stick to as if glued
: to hold or hold on tightly
clung desperately to the ladder
: to remain close : be dependent
clings to the family

More from Merriam-Webster on cling

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