\ˈkliŋ \
clung\ˈkləŋ \; 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 \ noun
clingy \ˈkliŋ-ē \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for cling

Synonyms: Verb

adhere, cleave, hew, stick

Synonyms: Noun

adherence, adhesion, bonding

Antonyms: Noun


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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


The children clung together under the little umbrella waiting for the storm to pass. a dozen magnets clinging to the refrigerator


for certain types of materials that plastic wrap has very little cling
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

According to Local 10, Isidore, 24, was actually arrested on Sunday after she was seen zipping down the highway with Francis, who happens to be her ex-boyfriend, clinging to the hood of the car. Breanna Edwards, The Root, "Florida Man Captured on Video Clinging to Hood of Speeding Car Speaks Out," 28 June 2018 Apparently, the family was unaware that the cat was on the car and had been clinging to the roof of the van. Fox News, "Trump: NFL owners did the right thing," 25 May 2018 Now losers of eight of their 10 games this season, the Padres would nonetheless depart clinging to the hope this cruel game teases and takes away on what seems to be a series-to-series basis and even game-to-game basis. Kevin Acee,, "Padres drop finale in Houston, head to Denver hopeful," 9 Apr. 2018 The first quarter featured five ties as Ballard escaped the opening eight minutes clinging to a three-point lead. Nate Bryan, The Courier-Journal, "Ballard pulls away from Male in boys basketball regional quarterfinal," 27 Feb. 2018 Photo courtesy University Health System Ryland lost his stepmother and two sisters in the tragedy that left him clinging to life. Melissa Chan, Time, "6-Year-Old Texas Church Shooting Survivor Got a Hero’s Sendoff As He Finally Left the Hospital," 11 Jan. 2018 Aniston, Pitt, and Jolie fueled the love triangle narrative that tabloids had been clinging to since the trope solidified over half a century ago, when Eddie Fisher left Debbie Reynolds for Elizabeth Taylor. Kathryn Lindsay,, "Why Be Engaged When You Can Be An Ex?," 13 July 2018 For the second time in as many weeks, a man was seen clinging to the hood of a car speeding on I-95, this time on Tuesday afternoon, WPLG Local 10 reported. Howard Cohen, miamiherald, "Video captures another man clinging to the hood of a speeding car on I-95," 10 July 2018 To DeSilva, this suggests that juvenile Australopithecines clung to their parents much as baby apes do today, and probably could climb trees quickly. NBC News, "Baby feet: Toddler bones show pre-human kids scampered up trees," 4 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Pickled mustard greens are essential, the tang offsetting the velvet cling of liquid fat. New York Times, "At Happy Stony Noodle, a Childhood Favorite Anchors the Menu," 25 Jan. 2018 The clings are meant to be peeled off after the party and reused at the next event. Bonnie Mccarthy,, "Keep track of your cocktails with drink charms and markers," 16 Dec. 2017 Keith’s chill delivery begets rapid rhymes that hang among the bells and whistles and clings and clangs of the arcade’s vintage machines. Kevin Warwick, Chicago Reader, "Hip-hop alien Kool Keith again invades Logan Arcade for his annual X-mas extravaganza," 15 Dec. 2017 One simple and inexpensive precaution is a window cling that alerts first responders that a pet is inside the home. Kelly Mcbride,, "Vet clinic reaches out to pet owners who can't afford care," 27 June 2017 Customers station themselves at the table, the windowsill or a low shelf, each set with a saltshaker and an enormous bottle of Valentina hot sauce, which brings good cling, upfront heat and a citrus coda. Ligaya Mishan, New York Times, "A Shrimp Cocktail With a Jumbo Jolt, at La Esquina in Queens," 4 May 2017

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 above

History and Etymology for cling


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


see cling entry 1

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Learn More about cling

Dictionary Entries near cling






cling film


Phrases Related to cling

cling film

Statistics for cling

Last Updated

3 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cling

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

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More Definitions for cling



English Language Learners Definition of cling

: to hold onto something or someone very tightly

: to stay very close to someone for emotional support, protection, etc.

: to stick to something or someone


\ˈkliŋ \
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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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).


lying above or upon

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