American English

Definition of cling verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they cling
    he / she / it clings
    past simple clung
    -ing form clinging
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  1. 1[intransitive] to hold on tightly to someone or something cling to somebody/something survivors clinging to a raft Leaves still clung to the branches. cling on to somebody/something She clung on to her baby. cling on Cling on tight! cling together They clung together, shivering with cold. Thesaurusholdhold on cling clutch grip grasp clasp hang onThese words all mean to have something or someone in your hands or arms.hold to have something or someone in your hand or arms:She was holding a large box. I held the baby gently in my arms.hold on (to somebody/something) to continue to hold something or someone; to put your hand on something or someone and not take your hand away:Hold on and don't let go until I say so.cling to hold on to something or someone tightly, especially with your whole body:Survivors clung to pieces of floating debris.clutch to hold something or someone tightly, especially in your hand; to take hold of something suddenly:She stood there, the flowers still clutched in her hand. He felt himself slipping and clutched at a branch.grip to hold on to something very tightly with your hand:Grip the rope as tightly as you can.grasp to take hold of something firmly:He grasped my hand and shook it warmly.clasp (formal) to hold something or someone tightly in your hand or in your arms:They clasped hands (= held each other's hands). She clasped the children to her breast. The object of clasp is often your hands, someone else's hand, or another person.hang on (to something) to hold on to something very tightly, especially in order to support yourself or stop yourself from falling:Hang on to the safety rope in case you slip and fall.Patterns to hold/clutch/grip/clasp something in your hand/hands to hold/clasp somebody/something in your arms to hold/hang on to something to hold/cling/hang on to hold/clutch/clasp somebody/something to you to hold/hold on to/cling to/clutch/grip/grasp/clasp/hang on to somebody/something tightly to hold/hold on to/cling to/clutch/grip/grasp/clasp somebody/something firmly to hold/hold on to/clutch/grip/clasp/hang on to somebody/something tight
  2. 2[intransitive] to stick to something a dress that clings (= fits closely and shows the shape of your body) cling to something The wet shirt clung to his chest. The smell of smoke still clung to her clothes. Her hair clung to her hot damp skin.
  3. 3[intransitive] cling (to somebody) (usually disapproving) to stay close to someone, especially because you need them emotionally After her mother's death, Sara clung to her aunt more than ever.
  4. Phrasal Verbscling to something
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: cling

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