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A person, typically a woman, whose relationship with someone or others is characterized by emotional overdependence and/or helplessness. I was at first attracted to her intrepid sense of adventure, but when we began dating, it became obvious she was a bit of a clinging vine emotionally.
cling to someone or something
1. Lit. to hold on tight to someone or something. The child clung tightly to his mother. As she drifted in the sea, she clung to a floating log.
2. Fig. to hold onto the thought or memory of someone or something; to have a strong emotional attachment to or dependence on someone or something. Her immigrant parents clung to the old ways. Harold clung to the memory of his grandmother.
See also: cling
[for two or more people or animals] to hold on tightly to each other. The two children clung together throughout the ordeal. The baby baboon and its mother clung together and could not be separated.
cling on/hang on by your fingernails
if you are clinging on by your fingernails, you are only just managing to avoid danger or failure (usually in continuous tenses) We're hanging on by our fingernails and hoping that it rains before we lose our entire crop.
cling on/hang on by your fingertips
if you are clinging on by your fingertips, you are only just managing to avoid danger or failure (usually in continuous tenses) We were clinging on by our fingertips, desperately trying to stop them scoring another goal.
An overly dependent person, as in A clinging vine since her marriage, she's never made a decision on her own. Nearly always applied to a woman (or wife), this metaphor for a climbing plant today criticizes dependency rather than, as in former times, praising the vine's fruitfulness.
cling like shit to a shoveland stick like shit to a shovel
1. in. to stick or adhere [to someone or something] tightly. (Usually objectionable.) That oily stuff sticks like shit to a shovel.
2. in. to be very dependent on someone; to follow someone around. (Often with an indirect object. Usually objectionable.) She’s so dependent. She clings to him like shit to a shovel. He hates her, but he sticks like shit to a shovel.