cloy·​ing | \ˈklȯi-iŋ, ˈklȯiŋ\

Definition of cloying 

: 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

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Other Words from cloying

cloyingly adverb

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."

Examples of cloying in a Sentence

After a while, the softness of his voice becomes cloying. the cloying sentiments of so many Mother's Day cards

Recent Examples on the Web

MoviePass has been struggling all year, and this mildly bizarre attempt at a cute stopgap feels unusually cloying and diversionary. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "MoviePass is staffed by dogs now, apparently," 8 Nov. 2018 For too long, fruity beers have been cloying, or overly fruity, or simply gross—the high-femme counterpoint to a pumpkin stout that no one asked for. Marian Bull, GQ, "Why You Need Fruity Beers in Your Cooler This Summer," 2 July 2018 There’s something about the overripe, cloying oppression of the Floridian climate that brings a magical realism to Groff’s work, a connection with nature that makes her departures from the state more sterile. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Florida, Full of Dread," 14 June 2018 Unlike the typical, cloying lemon drop, Colliau’s version is subtle and balanced, with the intriguingly complex flavor that comes from milk clarification. Esther Mobley,, "SF’s Interval puts the fern bar on a cocktail menu," 20 June 2018 This idea hit home for me, oddly, in a throwaway comic moment in the second season, which continues the first season’s blend of cloying contrivance and genuine uplift. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "How Queer Is Queer Eye?," 15 June 2018 The biggest potential pitfall of Bud Light Orange would have been an avalanche of cloying sweetness. Josh Noel,, "Bud Light Orange succeeds — but not as a beer," 22 May 2018 But there’s a reason Gjusta’s simple, straightforward take—filled with a thick layer of not-too-cloying cream cheese—has converted countless skeptics. Garrett Snyder, Los Angeles Magazine, "4 Slices of Carrot Cake to Try Because, You Know, Vegetables Are Good for You," 9 Mar. 2018 Angela is unhappily married to film producer Sol (Pat Towne), whose cloying relationship with their daughter, Edith (Julanne Chidi Hill), is anything but wholesome. F. Kathleen Foley,, "Lust, secrets, murder: Dive into the drag-rific world of 'Die, Mommy, Die!'," 17 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of cloying

1594, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cloying

see cloy

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Statistics for cloying

Last Updated

15 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cloying

The first known use of cloying was in 1594

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More Definitions for cloying



English Language Learners Definition of cloying

: too sweet, pleasant, or emotional

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More from Merriam-Webster on cloying

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cloying

Spanish Central: Translation of cloying

Britannica English: Translation of cloying for Arabic Speakers

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