When something clings, it holds on to a thing or a person for protection, support, or survival.

simplepastpast participle
  • The little girl is clinging to her mother.
  • Children cling to their parents for protection.
  • The man clung to the side of the mountain, hanging on for dear life.
  • Theresa clung to her boyfriend as the two of them worked their way through a crowded city street.
  • Plastic wrap clings to the food container over which it’s wrapped.
  • There’s a squirrel clinging to a branch.
  • Woodpeckers will cling to the side of a tree as they peck a hole into the side of it.


The word "cling" is often used figuratively:

  • David clings to his faith in God in order to make it through a difficult day.
  • People cling to their religion despite what others may believe.
  • Sarah clings to the happy memories that she has of the past.
  • Mr. Edwards clings to his old methods of teaching while ignoring the use of computers and the internet.

When the word "clingy" is used as an adjective, it means that one person tries to stay as close as possible to another person.

  • Sophia is a very clingy girlfriend.
  • Toddlers are often clingy around their parents.
  • Tom complains that his younger siblings are a little too clingy, and sometimes he just wants to be by himself.

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July 5, 2019