cloying

play
adjective cloy·ing \ˈklȯi-iŋ, ˈklȯiŋ\

Definition of cloying

  1. :  disgusting or distasteful by reason of excess cloying sweetness; also :  excessively sweet or sentimental a cloying romantic comedy Her coyness grows cloying after a while … — Elysa Gardner

cloyingly

adverb

cloying was our Word of the Day on 04/06/2017. Hear the podcast!

Examples of cloying in a Sentence

  1. After a while, the softness of his voice becomes cloying.

  2. the cloying sentiments of so many Mother's Day cards

Did You Know?

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."

Origin and Etymology of cloying

see cloy


First Known Use: 1594


CLOYING Defined for English Language Learners

cloying

play
adjective cloy·ing \ˈklȯi-iŋ, ˈklȯiŋ\

Definition of cloying for English Language Learners

  • : too sweet, pleasant, or emotional


Learn More about cloying


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to link together in a series or chain

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • winning-words-from-the-national-spelling-bee-logo
  • Which is the correct spelling of the winning word from 1988?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!