\ ˈkliŋ How to pronounce cling (audio) \
clung\ ˈkləŋ How to pronounce clung (audio) \; clinging

Definition of cling

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to hold together
b : to adhere as if glued firmly The shirt clung to his wet shoulders.
c : to hold or hold on tightly or tenaciously The kitten clung to the narrow branch.
2a : to have a strong emotional attachment or dependence he clung to his friends for support
b : to remain or linger as if resisting complete spreading or scattering The odor clung to the room for hours.


plural clings

Definition of cling (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act or instance of clinging : adherence
3 : 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from cling


clinger \ ˈkliŋ-​ər How to pronounce clinger (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for cling

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb There is always a glimmer of hope: a young player coming through, a system that seems promising, a game in which things seem to click, some small victory to cling to. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Liverpool Races Away, Leaving United Grasping for Moral Victories," 19 Jan. 2020 Experts fear the strategy leaves the U.S. vulnerable to more misinformation campaigns in the 2020 election and signals to the Kremlin and other foreign actors that Americans are willing to cling to falsehoods. Washington Post, "As trial nears, Trump keeps discredited Ukraine theory alive," 12 Jan. 2020 That said, naysayers are predisposed to cling to old-school approaches. Vijay Pande, STAT, "Welcome to the bioengineering culture clash," 10 Jan. 2020 Resilard could not pull himself into his but did his best to cling to it. Robert Faturechi, ProPublica, "Faulty Equipment, Lapsed Training, Repeated Warnings: How a Preventable Disaster Killed Six Marines," 2 Jan. 2020 The case, which was the subject of a recent Netflix miniseries, also became a flashpoint in the 2016 presidential election when Donald Trump appeared to cling to a belief that the men were guilty. Tim Perry, CBS News, "Michael Bloomberg addresses his prior support for city's handling of Central Park Five case," 30 Dec. 2019 Reaching for it, desperately afraid of never having beautiful ghosts of days gone by to cling to in her older years. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "The 'Cats' Soundtrack Is Here: Stream It Now," 20 Dec. 2019 In a loss to the Jaguars last Sunday, Williams dropped a pass on 3rd-and-11 with 1:55 left as the Raiders tried to cling to a late lead. Matt Kawahara,, "Raiders’ Tyrell Williams hopes to emerge ‘stronger’ from trying season," 20 Dec. 2019 The whole family is going to cling together and find comfort in each other during this time. Aurelie Corinthios,, "Facts of Life's Julie Piekarski Remembers Late Philip McKeon's 'Great Laugh' and 'Big Smile'," 17 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The lab’s stone expert, Jean-Didier Mertz, proudly showed off his myriad machines, glass atriums and vault stones wrapped in kitchen cling-film. Washington Post, "Broken angels: Inside the lab working to restore Notre Dame," 11 Oct. 2019 Well then, these bloody handprint window clings are the item for you. Courtney Thompson, CNN Underscored, "We found the 20 spookiest Halloween decoration ideas you need this year," 3 Oct. 2019 As the Sox cling to their long-shot playoff hopes, players like Porcello, Holt and the others are trying to improve their own positions. Peter Abraham,, "Pending free agency: One can only wonder how much it has affected Red Sox this season," 8 Sep. 2019 Starting the last week of August, Ela will also harvest freestones — peaches with pits that fall right off the fruit’s flesh — as opposed to clings, which do just what their name suggests. Josie Sexton, The Know, "From peach foie gras to boozy slushies, 20 ways to eat peaches at Denver restaurants right now," 28 Aug. 2019 The story of a witch with some too-heavy cling-ons. Kathryn Lindsay,, "Everything Coming To Netflix In July," 20 June 2019 Several spots on the T-shirt and hat clearly reject any attempt by the ketchup and mustard mixture to cling, whereas others afford it a bit of purchase. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, "The Internet-demanded, partially scientific testing of Ultra-Ever Dry (in HD!)," 4 July 2018 An estimated 40,000 members of the ethnic minority cling to the belief that everything vital in the world originates from a woman, earning the region the nickname Kingdom of Daughters. Jason Motlagh, Marie Claire, "Kingdom of Women," 18 Jan. 2018 The idea later resulted in a bridal collection of minimalist, no-frills wedding slips with a simple silhouette and carefree cling, complete with adjustable pearl-fastened straps. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Need a Wedding Dress and Pajamas? Sleeper Is the One-Stop Shop for Both," 5 Feb. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of cling


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


circa 1625, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cling

Verb and Noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cling

Time Traveler for cling

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for cling

Last Updated

24 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cling.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 29 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cling


How to pronounce cling (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of cling

: to hold onto something or someone very tightly
often disapproving : to stay very close to someone for emotional support, protection, etc.
: to stick to something or someone


\ ˈkliŋ How to pronounce cling (audio) \
clung\ ˈkləŋ \; clinging

Kids Definition of cling

1 : to hold fast by grasping or winding around To avoid falling, cling to the railing.
2 : to remain close He clings to the family.
3 : to hold fast or stick closely to a surface These wet socks are clinging to my feet.
4 : to continue to believe in We clung to the hope that we'd be rescued.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on cling

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cling

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cling

Spanish Central: Translation of cling

Nglish: Translation of cling for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cling for Arabic Speakers

Comments on cling

What made you want to look up cling? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to assert without proof or before proving

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

January 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • image1642096650
  • Which is a synonym of bonhomie?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!