Why was clemency trending last week?


[klinch] /klɪntʃ/
verb (used with object)
to settle (a matter) decisively:
After they clinched the deal they went out to celebrate.
to secure (a nail, screw, etc.) in position by beating down the protruding point:
He drove the nails through the board and clinched the points flat with a hammer.
to fasten (objects) together by nails, screws, etc., secured in this manner.
Nautical. to fasten by a clinch.
verb (used without object)
Boxing. to engage in a clinch:
The boxers clinched and were separated by the referee.
Slang. to embrace, especially passionately.
(of a clinched nail, screw, etc.) to hold fast; be secure.
the act of clinching.
Boxing. an act or instance of one or both boxers holding the other about the arms or body in order to prevent or hinder the opponent's punches.
Slang. a passionate embrace.
a clinched nail or fastening.
the bent part of a clinched nail, screw, etc.
a knot or bend in which a bight or eye is made by making a loop or turn in the rope and seizing the end to the standing part.
Archaic. a pun.
Also, clench (for defs 1–4, 9, 11, 12).
Origin of clinch
1560-70; later variant of Middle English clench
Related forms
clinchingly, adverb
Can be confused
clench, clinch.
1. cinch, secure, close, conclude, confirm. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for clinch
  • To clinch the pairing, the vinegar in the salad is made out of bubbly.
  • Hour by hour the hand of the mason and the stuff of the mortar clinch the pieces and parts to the shape an architect voted.
  • In prison a poet awaits execution, rapt with the thought that his dying breath will clinch the rhyme in the poem that is his life.
  • My argument is a complicated one and it is not possible to clinch the sale in a few words.
  • These newly discovered bacteria don't clinch this argument by any means.
  • Usually, you get to spend the whole primary pandering to the base and then moving to the center when you clinch the nomination.
  • To clinch the matter, an eyewitness to the shooting identified him in a lineup.
  • He can't properly focus his moral argument or clinch the forced emotional transformations his characters make.
  • At other times the relationship would be a little too cosy, with backhanders in cash or kind offered to clinch an order.
  • But this does not clinch the case against profit in medicine.
British Dictionary definitions for clinch


(transitive) to secure (a driven nail) by bending the protruding point over
(transitive) to hold together in such a manner: to clinch the corners of the frame
(transitive) to settle (something, such as an argument, bargain, etc) in a definite way
(transitive) (nautical) to fasten by means of a clinch
(intransitive) to engage in a clinch, as in boxing or wrestling
the act of clinching
  1. a nail with its point bent over
  2. the part of such a nail, etc, that has been bent over
(boxing, wrestling) an act or an instance in which one or both competitors hold on to the other to avoid punches, regain wind, etc
(slang) a lovers' embrace
(nautical) a loop or eye formed in a line by seizing the end to the standing part.
Also (for senses 1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 10) clench
Word Origin
C16: variant of clench
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for clinch

1560s, "clasp, interlock," especially with a bent nail, variant of clench. The sense of "settle decisively" is first recorded 1716, from the notion of "clinching" the point of a nail to keep it fast. Boxing sense is from 1860. Related: Clinched; clinching.


1620s, "method of fastening," from clinch (v.). Meaning "a fastening by bent nail" is from 1650s. In pugilism, from 1875.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for clinch


  1. A close contact of two boxers, where they hold each other's arms to stifle blows (1870s+ Prizefight)
  2. An embrace; passionate hug (1899+)
  1. : Two palookas clinched through six rounds
  2. To determine conclusively; finish definitively and positively; NAIL something DOWN: They claim new evidence that'll clinch their case (1716+)

[fr the bending over, clinching, of the point of a nail to ensure it does not pull out; ultimately fr clench]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for clinch

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for clinch

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with clinch