Definition of cling verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

     

    cling

     verb
    verb
    BrE BrE//klɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//klɪŋ//
     
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they cling
    BrE BrE//klɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//klɪŋ//
     
    he / she / it clings
    BrE BrE//klɪŋz//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//klɪŋz//
     
    past simple clung
    BrE BrE//klʌŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//klʌŋ//
     
    past participle clung
    BrE BrE//klʌŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//klʌŋ//
     
    -ing form clinging
    BrE BrE//ˈklɪŋɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈklɪŋɪŋ//
     
    Love
     
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  1. 1[intransitive] to hold on tightly to somebody/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. Synonymsholdhold on cling clutch grip grasp clasp hang onThese words all mean to have somebody/​something in your hands or arms.hold to have somebody/​something 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 somebody/​something; to put your hand on somebody/​something and not take your hand away:Hold on and don’t let go until I say so.cling to hold on to somebody/​something tightly, especially with your whole body:Survivors clung to pieces of floating debris.clutch to hold somebody/​something 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. The object of grasp is often somebody’s hand or wrist.clasp (formal) to hold somebody/​something tightly in your hand or in your arms:They clasped hands (= held each other’s hands). She clasped the children in her arms. The object of clasp is often your hands, somebody 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 tight. We’re off!Patterns to hold/​clutch/​grip/​clasp something in your hand/​hands to hold/​catch/​clasp somebody/​something in your arms to hold/​clutch/​grip/​grasp/​clasp/​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 somebody, especially because you need them emotionally After her mother's death, Sara clung to her aunt more than ever. See related entries: Love
  4. Word Origin Old English clingan ‘stick together’, of Germanic origin; related to Middle Dutch klingen ‘adhere’, Middle High German klingen ‘climb’, also to clench.Extra examples He lay there, barely clinging to consciousness. He still clings stubbornly to his socialist ideas. I clung closely to my mother’s arm. She clung fiercely to him. She clung onto my arm. She was desperately clinging on to life. The children clung together in fear. The ground mist clung closely to the bushes. houses clinging precariously to sheer cliffs She clung tightly to her baby. Survivors clung to pieces of floating debris. Phrasal Verbscling to something
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: cling