cloy·​ing | \ ˈklȯi-iŋ How to pronounce cloying (audio) , 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 The room is still a mix of patriotic and cloying, rugged and fragile, a blend of Donald’s personality and hers. John Carlisle,, "Her husband's sudden death left her to run struggling U.P. motel — and she can't walk away," 28 Nov. 2019 Bonus: City Water’s flavors aren’t messy or cloying — another common downfall during hard seltzer’s short tenure as an industry sensation. Josh Noel,, "City Water is Chicago’s first local craft hard seltzer — and immediately one of the best anywhere," 25 Oct. 2019 Migration Brewing: Mo-Haze-ic New England IPA This beer is a straight-down-the-middle hazy IPA: juicy with a grapefruit profile but not overly sweet or cloying. Andre Meunier, oregonlive, "I’ve visited 40 Portland breweries so far in 2019; here is my favorite beer from each," 22 Nov. 2019 But there's always a point at which the little fur balls can cross the line from cute to cloying, humorous to annoying, diverting to distracting. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "Baby Yoda is the adorable, big-eared savior of Disney+'s 'The Mandalorian'," 22 Nov. 2019 The best — and really only — way to do this without seeming cloying or tokenistic is through powerful displays that speak for themselves, and the MFA has had plenty., "As museums evolve, the MFA marks 150th anniversary by embracing change - The Boston Globe," 11 Oct. 2019 As sentimental as Elizabeth O’Halloran’s screenplay already sounds, it’s made more cloying by adding a young camping-store guide (Kevin Guthrie, trying hard) as the suspicious-then-inspired companion foil for her cranky charms. Robert Abele, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: ‘Edie’ aspires to inspire but remains earthbound," 19 Sep. 2019 The worst of the bunch are drippy, odd colored or cloying, due to added sugar or too much apple concentrate, the most popular sweetener. Jolene Thym, The Mercury News, "Taste-off: The best lunchbox fruit pouches at Bay Area markets," 9 Sep. 2019 As such, many a trick-or-treater has hauled their cloying bounties home over the decades only to surrender them to parental authorities for thorough inspection. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Forget poisoned candy and razor blades. Here’s the real Halloween horror," 28 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for cloying

Time Traveler

The first known use of cloying was in 1594

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Statistics for cloying

Last Updated

13 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Cloying.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 15 December 2019.

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More Definitions for cloying


How to pronounce cloying (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of cloying

disapproving : 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

Comments on cloying

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


delight or enjoyment

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