cling

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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 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: 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: cling, fingertip, on

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

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

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: 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: fingertip, hang, on

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

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 ?
The day had come, and a heavy mist had descended upon the land: the mist penetrating, enveloping, and silent; the morning mist of tropical lands; the mist that clings and kills; the mist white and deadly, immaculate and poisonous.
In a poem he has to say that there is pride and rivalry between the cities of the earth, and that "the men that breed from them, they traffic up and down, but cling to their cities' hem as a child to the mother's gown.
The men that breed from them they traffic up and down, but cling to their cities' hem as a child to the mother's gown.
With head on fire, I retraced my way to the gallery, and without having found anything more than I had seen on the previous night, the right hold I had taken of my reason drew me to something so important that I was obliged to cling to it to save myself from falling.
Or else, they grasp at sweetmeats, and mock at their childishness thereby: they cling to their straw of life, and mock at their still clinging to it.
Mary, who was hysterical, had evinced a desire to cling to him, and he had sent her sliding across the top of the table to Saxon.
BrickStix Cling Decals are reusable, removable and re-“stickable” clings made for plastic building bricks.
When a child clings to you he is not being naughty or "attention seeking" he is trying to be soothed from feeling unsafe and needs your support.
Weighing about as much as two airline passengers and their luggage, the Guardian is a pod that clings to the rear of a plane's belly.
He is an Israelite who can't imagine going home and a Philippian who clings to his titles.
The key word is "I" that clings on to the three major fires which keep burning us all the time.
DARR DEVIL: Christian Williams clings to Darrias after hitting the last hurdle but pulls himself back into the saddle to go on and win
Yet managers, seeing a completely different game to the rest of us, cling to it like George Best clings to opening time.
While the mother gently rocked back and forth in the examining-room chair, the infant clung to her chest as fiercely as a wide-eyed baby lemur clings to his mother's furry belly.