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clinging vine

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.
See also: cling, vine

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

cling together

[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.
See also: cling, together

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.
See also: cling, on

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.
See also: cling, fingertip, on

clinging vine

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.
See also: cling, vine

cling like shit to a shovel

and 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.
See also: cling, like, shit, shovel
References in classic literature ?
He felt a soft, warm pad upon the fingers of one of his hands where they circled the branch to which he clung, and then something reached down out of the blackness above and dragged him up among the branches of the tree.
There being no way to arrest the progress of the raft they clung fast to the logs and let the river sweep them on.
Tarzan still clung to the fuselage directly behind the pilot's seat.
He was carried within reach of the cordage where the warrior still clung, though with rapidly diminishing strength.
Momentarily stunned, Gahan's fingers slipped from their hold upon the cordage and the man shot downward through the thin air of dying Mars toward the ground three thousand feet beneath, while upon the deck of the rolling Vanator his faithful warriors clung to their lashings all unconscious of the fate of their beloved leader; nor was it until more than an hour later, after the storm had materially subsided, that they realized he was lost, or knew the self-sacrificing heroism of the act that had sealed his doom.
His feet clung to the earth with the same tenacity that he clung to life.
But through it all I clung to the one idea--I MUST GET THE JIB BACKED OVER TO WINDWARD.
The nurse was not wet on the lower part of her dress, but Kitty was drenched through, and her soaked clothes clung to her.
Saxon clung to Billy, who slowly and methodically elbowed and shouldered a way for her.
Bert yelped with joy, while Mary clung to him, mad with fear.
Vainly Mary clung to his arm, shaking him back and forth and remonstrating.
The 10-year-old girl plunged into a freezing lake as the surface broke and screamed for dear life as she clung on to a jagged edge.
Student Rachel Turner may have clung to the ledge before her fatal fall
A DELIVERY driver clung to his vehicle as a thief tried to drive off with it in Warwickshire.
Cumbria Police today said that he clung precariously to the rocks for more than two hours while rescue teams battled to save him on Wednesday.