\ ˈkliŋ How to pronounce cling (audio) \
clung\ ˈkləŋ How to pronounce cling (audio) \; clinging

Definition of cling

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to hold together
b : to adhere as if glued firmly The shirt clung to his wet shoulders.
c : to hold or hold on tightly or tenaciously The kitten clung to the narrow branch.
2a : to have a strong emotional attachment or dependence he clung to his friends for support
b : to remain or linger as if resisting complete spreading or scattering The odor clung to the room for hours.


plural clings

Definition of cling (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act or instance of clinging : adherence
3 : a sheet of material (such as plastic or vinyl) designed to adhere to a flat surface by static electricity and often printed with an image or message When it's time for a new look, simply peel off the clings and store them away for another day.— Lorna Hordos

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Other Words from cling


clinger \ ˈkliŋ-​ər How to pronounce cling (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for cling

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

  • unsticking
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Choose the Right Synonym for cling


stick, adhere, cohere, cling, cleave mean to become closely attached. stick implies attachment by affixing or by being glued together. couldn't get the label to stick adhere is often interchangeable with stick but sometimes implies a growing together. antibodies adhering to a virus cohere suggests a sticking together of parts so that they form a unified mass. eggs will make the mixture cohere cling implies attachment by hanging on with arms or tendrils. clinging to a capsized boat cleave stresses strength of attachment. the wet shirt cleaved to his back

Examples of cling in a Sentence

Verb The children clung together under the little umbrella waiting for the storm to pass. a dozen magnets clinging to the refrigerator Noun for certain types of materials that plastic wrap has very little cling
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But now Toyota seems to want to cling onto its former glory to protect Japanese jobs, at the expense of environmental needs. James Morris, Forbes, 2 Oct. 2021 Many new chimneys have smooth metal linings that are not conducive to a bird looking for something to cling onto during the night. Linda Girardi,, 21 Sep. 2021 Milley is one of a few senior figures, including Republican officials in some battleground states, who stood firm against Trump's multi-front efforts to subvert the will of voters and cling to power. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 28 Sep. 2021 But similar to the conversation about the term grand cru, there is potential in sites that don’t have a name to which to cling, if consumers are offered an understanding beyond the label. Jill Barth, Forbes, 27 Sep. 2021 This was the post-makeup period where the band struggled to find relevance as hair metal and later grunge took over the rock charts, but Kiss made a ton of music in these years and fans who came of age after the Seventies still cling to it tightly. Andy Greene, Rolling Stone, 24 Sep. 2021 When buying corn for today’s recipe, make sure that the husks are moist, fresh-looking, bright green and cling tightly to the corn cob. Darlene Zimmerman, Detroit Free Press, 11 Sep. 2021 Depending on where it's located, your fan might also gather greasy or sticky buildup over time, which can cause dust to cling even more. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, 27 Aug. 2021 Here, comatose patients cling to life usually thanks to technological assistance. oregonlive, 27 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Most recently, a startup called Polymateria created a plastic cling film, intended for uses like packaging, that can break down within a year and also be recycled. Julian Chokkattu, Wired, 8 June 2021 Chartrand points to the Y2K revival, an aesthetic movement popular on Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter among Gen Z-ers too young to have experience MTV TRL the first time around, as one reason for the return of cling. Steff Yotka, Vogue, 27 May 2021 That’s where the vast majority of the people suffer and the few cling to power and thrive by exploiting others. Peter Georgescu, Forbes, 19 Apr. 2021 Install new windows with a low-E coating, or line old windowpanes with an adhesive or static-cling film. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, 19 Mar. 2021 Too much sunlight makes daytime naps or early bedtimes seemingly impossible, but this handy window cling is the perfect solution for total darkness any time of day. Lexie Sachs, Good Housekeeping, 24 Sep. 2020 Rocket Man put together a proposal of health guidelines for its employees to use, including wearing both face shields and masks, using hand sanitizer between each transaction and covering cocktail glasses with a perforated cling film. Dahlia Ghabour, The Courier-Journal, 19 Aug. 2020 For heavy pots, stick a chopstick in a few inches; if damp particles of soil cling, hold off on watering. Arricca Elin Sansone, House Beautiful, 11 Aug. 2020 The lab’s stone expert, Jean-Didier Mertz, proudly showed off his myriad machines, glass atriums and vault stones wrapped in kitchen cling-film. Washington Post, 11 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cling.' 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 cling


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


circa 1625, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cling

Verb and Noun

Middle English, from Old English clingan; akin to Old High German klunga tangled ball of thread

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Time Traveler for cling

Time Traveler

The first known use of cling was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near cling




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Statistics for cling

Last Updated

25 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cling.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for cling



English Language Learners Definition of cling

: to hold onto something or someone very tightly
: to stay very close to someone for emotional support, protection, etc.
: to stick to something or someone


\ ˈkliŋ How to pronounce cling (audio) \
clung\ ˈkləŋ \; clinging

Kids Definition of cling

1 : to hold fast by grasping or winding around To avoid falling, cling to the railing.
2 : to remain close He clings to the family.
3 : to hold fast or stick closely to a surface These wet socks are clinging to my feet.
4 : to continue to believe in We clung to the hope that we'd be rescued.

More from Merriam-Webster on cling

Nglish: Translation of cling for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cling for Arabic Speakers


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