cling

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cling like a leech

To engage with someone in a parasitic, clinging manner. (A leech is a type of worm that latches on to other animals to feed on their blood.) Her younger brother clings like a leech, always hanging around us and asking for money.
See also: cling, leech, like

cling on (to someone or something)

1. Literally, to hold on (to someone or something) very tightly. The little girl clung on to her dad's legs and cried as he tried to leave for work. I just kept clinging on and praying that a search party would find me dangling from the side of the rock.
2. To remain devoted to or entrenched in something, especially in a stubborn or desperate manner. In this ever-changing world, you can't just stubbornly cling on to your old beliefs. I really hate my job, but if I can just cling on for a little while longer, I'll have enough money saved up to change careers.
3. To remain in close, persistent contact with someone, especially in a desperate, helpless, or emotionally overdependent manner. I wish my younger brother would stop clinging on like that whenever I go out with my friends. He's starting to really embarrass me. That brownnosing little twerp just clings on to the boss all day long, agreeing with whatever he says.
See also: cling, on, someone

cling on by (one's) fingernails

1. Literally, to grasp something, such as a cliff, with one's fingernails to avoid falling. The stranded hiker was clinging on by her fingernails until the rescue crew arrived.
2. By extension, to narrowly avoid problems or failure. They're clinging on by their fingernails out there—the other team's offensive is totally overwhelming them. Now that I have three small children to care for, I feel as if I'm clinging on by my fingernails every day.
See also: by, cling, fingernail, on

cling on by (one's) fingertips

1. Literally, to grasp something, such as a cliff, with one's fingertips to avoid falling. The stranded hiker was clinging on by her fingertips until the rescue crew arrived.
2. By extension, to narrowly avoid problems or failure. They're clinging on by their fingertips out there—the other team's offensive is totally overwhelming them. Now that I have three small children to care for, I feel as if I'm clinging on by my fingertips every day.
See also: by, cling, fingertip, on

cling to (one's) beliefs

To remain devoted to or entrenched in one's convictions, principles, or opinions, especially in a desperate or obtuse manner. In this ever-changing world, you can't just stubbornly cling to your old beliefs. You have to be flexible and able to adapt, or you're going to get left behind by the younger generations.
See also: belief, cling, to

cling to (someone or something)

1. Literally, to hold on to someone or something tightly. The little girl clung to her dad's legs and cried as he tried to leave for work. I clung to the side of the rock and prayed that a search party would find me.
2. By extension, to remain devoted to or entrenched in something, often a belief or opinion. In this ever-changing world, you can't just stubbornly cling to your old beliefs.
See also: cling, to

cling to a shred of hope

To have the slightest bit of hope (that something is or may be the case). The police had not discovered any sign of a body yet, so I still clung to a shred of hope that my wife would be found alive. The judge's decision to let us appeal the case left us clinging to a shred of hope that we might finally receive justice for what happened.
See also: cling, hope, of, shred, to

cling to the/(one's) belief that (something is the case)

To remain devoted to or entrenched in one's conviction or opinion that something is true, especially in a desperate or obtuse manner. A shocking amount of people still cling to the belief that the Earth is flat. That corporate bigwig is still clinging to his belief that he is immune from prosecution.
See also: belief, cling, that, to

cling together

1. Of two or more things, to adhere to one another. The pages in this book are so thin that they usually cling together.
2. Of two or more people, to hold each other tightly. The wind was so strong that we had to cling together just to cross the parking lot!
See also: cling, together

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

hang on by (one's) fingernails

1. Literally, to grasp something, such as a cliff, with one's fingernails to avoid falling. The stranded hiker was hanging on by her fingernails until the rescue crew arrived.
2. By extension, to narrowly avoid problems or failure. They're hanging on by their fingernails out there—the other team's offensive is totally overwhelming them. Now that I have three small children to care for, I feel as if I'm hanging on by my fingernails every day.
See also: by, fingernail, hang, on

hang on by (one's) fingertips

1. Literally, to grasp something, such as a cliff, with one's fingertips to avoid falling. The stranded hiker was hanging on by her fingertips until the rescue crew arrived.
2. By extension, to narrowly avoid problems or failure. They're hanging on by their fingertips out there—the other team's offensive is totally overwhelming them. Now that I have three small children to care for, I feel as if I'm hanging on by my fingertips every day.
See also: by, fingertip, hang, on
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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, to

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

clinging vine

An extremely dependent person. Today this term is mildly pejorative—such a person is not considered particularly admirable—but earlier uses of this figure of speech carry no such criticism. Indeed, the vine in question, nearly always a woman or wife, was also praised for potential or actual fruitfulness (i.e., childbearing ability). “Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house,” says the Book of Psalms (128:3).
See also: cling, vine

grasp at straws, to

To make a hopeless effort to save oneself. The term comes from the ancient image of a drowning man clutching at insubstantial reeds in an attempt to save himself, and it often was put as to catch or clutch at straws. It appeared in print as early as the sixteenth century and soon was regarded as a proverb. Indeed, Samuel Richardson so identifies it in Clarissa (1748): “A drowning man will catch at a straw, the proverb well says.” An earlier usage is “We do not as men redie to be drowned, catch at euery straw” (John Prime, Fruitful and Brief Discourse, 1583).
See also: grasp, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
A video recording of the incident shows a man wearing a blue shirt and a dark pair of trousers clinging onto the car bonnet for nearly 2km.
But in the Sea of Japan, a variety of clinging jellyfish is notorious for toxic stings that cause a wide range of symptoms--severe pain, difficulty breathing, and even hallucinations--that can persist for up to five days.
Adhesive company Bostik has launched its new brand identity campaign with a bold outdoor ad that features a giant gecko clinging to the side of a nine-story Paris building on a route traveled by millions of motorists each day.
A WOMAN was rescued after being found clinging to a buoy in a harbour, with two female police officers pulled out of mud trying to save her.
If the triangle can move along the clinging side in one direction at most, then the unit equilateral triangle is said to be restrictively sliding or it is said to be freely sliding.
Old tiles clinging on Q What's the best way to remove old tiles from my kitchen walls?
The driver got back in the van but was forced out, leaving him clinging to the window of the vehicle as it sped off.
Q MY son has recently started school, and is clinging to me every morning.
A BARGE sank deep into the clinging mud of the Hudson River.
RELIEVED Anabela Silva firmly clutches her son - after clinging on to him to stop him plunging from a first-floor window.
Paul's words issue a strong condemnation of clinging to the present way of looking at things.
The technique that the Buddha suggested was really unique, it is not to keep the water constantly pure by suppressing the defilements, instead the Buddhist technique was to overcome the clinging that the jar was there from the very beginning.