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[klout] /klaʊt/
a blow, especially with the hand; cuff:
The bully gave him a painful clout on the head.
Informal. pull; strong influence; muscle, especially political power:
a wealthy campaign contributor with clout at city hall.
Baseball. a long hit, especially an extra-base hit:
A hard clout to deep center field drove in the winning run.
  1. the mark or target shot at, especially in long-distance shooting.
  2. a shot that hits the mark.
Also called clout nail. a nail for attaching sheet metal to wood, having a short shank with a broad head.
  1. a patch or piece of cloth or other material used to mend something.
  2. any worthless piece of cloth; rag.
  3. an article of clothing (usually used contemptuously).
verb (used with object)
to strike, especially with the hand; cuff.
  1. to bandage.
  2. to patch; mend.
Origin of clout
before 900; Middle English; Old English clūt piece of cloth or metal; cognate with Middle Low German klūte, Old Norse klūtr
Related forms
clouter, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for clout
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Even an old broken bowman might find the clout with a bow like this.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • "Nay, there you are wide of the clout," the bowman said gravely.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The next moment he received a clout alongside the head that knocked him over on his side.

    White Fang Jack London
  • As for the clout I gave Master Peter, here is a groat to mend it.

    In the Days of Drake J. S. Fletcher
  • Swords are for gentlemen, while clubs are to clout the heads of rogues—thus.

    The O'Ruddy Stephen Crane
British Dictionary definitions for clout


(informal) a blow with the hand or a hard object
power or influence, esp in politics
  1. the target used in long-distance shooting
  2. the centre of this target
  3. a shot that hits the centre
Also called clout nail. a short, flat-headed nail used esp for attaching sheet metal to wood
(Brit, dialect)
  1. a piece of cloth: a dish clout
  2. a garment
  3. a patch
verb (transitive)
(informal) to give a hard blow to, esp with the hand
to patch with a piece of cloth or leather
Derived Forms
clouter, noun
Word Origin
Old English clūt piece of metal or cloth, clūtian to patch (C14: to strike with the hand); related to Dutch kluit a lump, and to clod
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
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Word Origin and History for clout

Old English clut "lump of something," also "patch of cloth put over a hole to mend it," from Proto-Germanic *klutaz (cf. Old Norse klute "kerchief," Danish klud "rag, tatter," Frisian klut "lump," Dutch kluit "clod, lump"); perhaps related to clot (v.).

In later use "a handkerchief," also "a woman's sanitary napkin." Sense of "a blow" is from c.1400 early 14c., from the verb. Sense of "personal influence" is 1958, on the notion of "punch, force."


"to beat, strike," early 14c., from clout (n.), perhaps on the notion of hitting someone with a lump of something, or from the "patch of cloth" sense of that word (cf. clout (v.) "to patch, mend," mid-14c.). Related: Clouted; clouting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for clout



  1. A heavy blow: She gave him a clout on the snoot (1400+)
  2. Force; power; impact; punch: This wimpish paragraph lacks clout (1950s+)
  3. Influence or power, esp of a political sort: He has lots of friends in high places, but no clout (1950s+)


  1. To hit; strike; bash: My old man would have clouted the hell out of me (1890s+)
  2. To hit the ball, esp to hit it hard (1910+ Baseball)
  3. To steal, esp to shoplift or steal a car (1940s+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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