: disgusting or distasteful by reason of excess; also : excessively sweet or sentimental
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 Latin clavus, meaning "nail."
"In Raymond Chandler's first novel The Big Sleep (1939), Philip Marlowe visits a client in his orchid house, where the air was thick, wet, steamy and larded with the cloying smell of tropical orchids in bloom." — Amy Henderson, The Weekly Standard, 20 Feb. 2017
"A snap of the Eiffel Tower using only the #ParisLove hashtag requires no elaboration—been there, done that—while a photo of the Taj Mahal, simply tagged #EternalLove, can feel more cloying than compelling." — Adam Bisby, The Globe and Mail (Canada), 25 Feb. 2017
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
Unscramble the letters to create a synonym of cloying: WIHAMSK.VIEW THE ANSWER
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP