noun (1)
clin·​ker | \ ˈkliŋ-kər How to pronounce clinker (audio) \

Definition of clinker

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a brick that has been burned too much in the kiln
2 : stony matter fused together : slag


noun (2)
clink·​er | \ ˈkliŋ-kər How to pronounce clinker (audio) \

Definition of clinker (Entry 2 of 2)

1 British : something first-rate
2a : a wrong note
b : a serious mistake or error : boner
c : an utter failure : flop
d : something of poor quality

First Known Use of clinker

Noun (1)

1641, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

1733, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for clinker

Noun (1)

alteration of earlier klincard a hard yellowish Dutch brick

Noun (2)

clink entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about clinker

Time Traveler for clinker

Time Traveler

The first known use of clinker was in 1641

See more words from the same year

Statistics for clinker

Cite this Entry

“Clinker.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Aug. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on clinker

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for clinker

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with clinker

Comments on clinker

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!