Definition of cloying
- cloying sweetness
- a cloying romantic comedy
- Her coyness grows cloying after a while …
- —Elysa Gardner
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
After a while, the softness of his voice becomes cloying.
the cloying sentiments of so many Mother's Day cards
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cloying.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Can one desire too much of a good thing? asks Rosalind in William Shakespeare's play As You Like It. "Cloying" suggests that you can, because it implies a repugnant excess of something that might be pleasing in smaller doses. An exploration into the history of "cloying," however, leads us eventually to roots that are neither sweet nor excessive, but rather tough as nails. Cloying derives from the verb "cloy," which now means "to supply or indulge to excess," but which once meant "to clog" and earlier "to prick a horse with a nail in shoeing." "Cloy" itself traces via Middle English to Anglo-French encloer (which also meant "to prick a horse with a nail in shoeing") and ultimately to the Latin clavus, meaning "nail."
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