\ ˈklȯi How to pronounce cloy (audio) \
cloyed; cloying; cloys

Definition of cloy

transitive verb

: to supply with an unwanted or distasteful excess usually of something originally pleasing … Cordelia has been cloyed by her sisters' excessive protestations of affection …— Rebecca West

intransitive verb

: to be or become insipid or distasteful usually through an excess of an originally pleasurable quality (such as sweetness) … curious how the lemon keeps its bite when the sweet flavours have begun to cloy, and the crispness has departed.— Eric Korn

Keep scrolling for more

Choose the Right Synonym for cloy

satiate, sate, surfeit, cloy, pall, glut, gorge mean to fill to repletion. satiate and sate may sometimes imply only complete satisfaction but more often suggest repletion that has destroyed interest or desire. years of globe-trotting had satiated their interest in travel readers were sated with sensationalistic stories surfeit implies a nauseating repletion. surfeited themselves with junk food cloy stresses the disgust or boredom resulting from such surfeiting. sentimental pictures that cloy after a while pall emphasizes the loss of ability to stimulate interest or appetite. a life of leisure eventually begins to pall glut implies excess in feeding or supplying. a market glutted with diet books gorge suggests glutting to the point of bursting or choking. gorged themselves with chocolate

Examples of cloy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The whole thing manages to be sweet, and funny, and not cloying in the way of so much kid-centric programming. Sophie Kemp, Vogue, "The 9 Best Podcasts to Listen to This Holiday Season," 24 Dec. 2019 His bleak and jaded worldview is tempered by an unflagging, never cloying faith in love and its ability to transcend the muck and vile. Carlos Valladares,, "California Streamin’: Blake Edwards can make your heart soar and curdle at once," 4 Nov. 2019 The result is not cloying, however, and mascarpone along with blackberry sauce keep the sugar in check. Becky Krystal, Washington Post, "Make your mornings — or evenings — brighter with a week’s worth of waffle recipes," 19 Oct. 2019 Other brands’ seltzers were perfectly dry, but the synthetic flavors felt cloying in their own way and left an unpleasantly bitter aftertaste. Esther Mobley,, "We blind-tasted 38 hard seltzers. These were the winners (and many losers)," 20 Aug. 2019 No Passover Seder seemed authentic without its square-shaped, ripple-faced matzo and a shot or more of the syrupy Concord grape wine that many find cloying yet nostalgic. Joseph Berger, New York Times, "‘Man, Oh Manischewitz’: Kosher Food Merger Opens New Chapter for Famous Name," 2 Aug. 2019 Plenty sweet, to be sure, but certainly not cloying, and despite the grapes’ long hang time the flavors are perfectly fresh — pert and bright, as opposed to the stewy-fruit notes that often burden late-harvest wines. Esther Mobley,, "Why don’t we drink dessert wine?," 11 July 2019 The use of music — more filler than necessary at times — is also cloying. Alan Zilberman, Twin Cities, "Toni Morrison is a great storyteller, in her books and in this new documentary," 4 July 2019 The Cold Blue builds a mesmerizing historical journey with a one-two punch of technological wizardry and emotional but never cloying artistry. Chuck Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "'Cold Blue' Shows the B-17 Bomber Like You've Never Seen It Before," 16 May 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cloy.' 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 cloy

1528, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for cloy

Middle English, to hinder, lame, alteration of acloyen to harm, maim, modification of Anglo-French encloer to nail, prick a horse with a nail in shoeing, from Medieval Latin inclavare, from Latin in + clavus nail

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cloy

Statistics for cloy

Last Updated

10 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cloy.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 18 January 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on cloy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cloy

Britannica English: Translation of cloy for Arabic Speakers

Comments on cloy

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


experienced by way of someone else

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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!