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

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Other Words from cling


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

Synonyms & Antonyms for cling

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

  • unsticking
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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Plus, the sickest Covid-19 patients were put on ventilators, where drug-resistant infections can cling and then spread. New York Times, "With All Eyes on Covid-19, Drug-Resistant Infections Crept In," 27 Jan. 2021 On one of the group’s national message boards, former Trump supporters, many of whom still cling to widely unfounded allegations of voter fraud, voiced disappointment this week with the democratic process. Los Angeles Times, "Right-wing extremists stage ‘meme war’ to compete for Trump supporters," 27 Jan. 2021 Deflategate in 2015 — cling loosely to their championships, like dryer sheets on fresh laundry. New York Times, "Through Genetics, Luck or ‘Prehab,’ Tom Brady Endures at 43," 7 Feb. 2021 These bacteria and fungi can cling tenaciously to clothing and medical equipment, which is why nursing homes and hospitals before the pandemic were focused on cleaning rooms and changing gowns to prevent their spread. Matt Richtel, Star Tribune, "Some germs unchecked?," 4 Feb. 2021 Now, Democrats cling to a razor-thin majority thanks to Vice President Kamala Harris’s tiebreaking vote. W. James Antle Iii, Washington Examiner, "Still tethered to Trump, Republicans have ample impeachment risks," 2 Feb. 2021 The wax will cling and congeal around the cardboard holder and come out in one wiggle. Washington Post, "Hints From Heloise: Send a letter to your future self," 21 Jan. 2021 If the right antigens are present, both antigen and antibody cling to one another like Velcro. Miriam Fauzia, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Improper use of COVID-19 test gives false positive for Coca-Cola," 31 Dec. 2020 The new division is trying to hold utilities accountable, but herding large, powerful companies that cling to old practices is daunting. Julie Cart,, "Whack and stack: PG&E’s toppling of trees creates new hazards," 26 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Too much sunlight makes daytime naps or early bedtimes seemingly impossible, but this handy window cling is the perfect solution for total darkness any time of day. Lexie Sachs, Good Housekeeping, "Good Housekeeping's 2020 Parenting Awards," 24 Sep. 2020 Rocket Man put together a proposal of health guidelines for its employees to use, including wearing both face shields and masks, using hand sanitizer between each transaction and covering cocktail glasses with a perforated cling film. Dahlia Ghabour, The Courier-Journal, "Sorry, mint julep fans. There won't be any hawkers in the stands at 2020 Kentucky Derby," 19 Aug. 2020 For heavy pots, stick a chopstick in a few inches; if damp particles of soil cling, hold off on watering. Arricca Elin Sansone, House Beautiful, "The Beginner’s Guide to Becoming a Plant Person," 11 Aug. 2020 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

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for cling

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for cling

Last Updated

27 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cling.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for cling



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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on cling

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cling

Nglish: Translation of cling for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cling for Arabic Speakers

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