Definition of clout in English:

clout

noun

  • 1informal A heavy blow with the hand or a hard object.

    ‘a clout round the ear’
    • ‘I would welcome back the past, where scrumping apples would earn you a clout around the ear.’
    • ‘The cat bounced out of the carrier, fetched his companion a good clout round the ears, and made off to his bowl where he sat, waiting with no patience at all for his delayed breakfast.’
    • ‘The result was a thundering clout behind the right ear.’
    • ‘That said, he delivered a swift clout round about her ears.’
    • ‘To my dismay, one small box of carefully packed pottery ornaments must have received a heavy clout at some time in the past few years and many of the pieces were chipped, or rubbed.’
    • ‘He had no idea what the fuss was about but fetched her a good clout round the ear just to be sure.’
    • ‘But he gives it a clout and knocks it eight feet past.’
    • ‘Swans are normally very strong and could inflict some nasty bites or give strong clouts with their wings.’
    • ‘The player stood off and a massive clout with the right foot from around 25 yards followed.’
    • ‘But those were the days when a policeman was a respected, perhaps even feared, guardian of society, who would give you a clout round the head if he copped you scrumping.’
    smack, slap, thump, punch, blow, hit, knock, bang, cuff, box, spanking, spank, tap, clip
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  • 2informal mass noun Influence or power, especially in politics or business.

    ‘I knew she carried a lot of clout’
    • ‘And he now has the clout to do something about it.’
    • ‘His leadership has been accompanied by immense popularity that has endowed him with significant power and political clout.’
    • ‘I think television has 10 times the clout of any column.’
    • ‘But the private shareholders, the little people who had none of the big boys' clout and bargaining power, were treated with contempt.’
    • ‘An elected regional assembly would have the clout and funding to make a real difference to the quality of life of people who live and work in the North West.’
    • ‘Those in the know will tell you he got in the team in the first place only thanks to family influence and political clout.’
    • ‘And it's very clear that these are the nations which have the clout at the global level.’
    • ‘Sure, business interests deserve some clout in a democracy, but this is ridiculous.’
    • ‘But critics say they are little more than a toothless watchdog, lacking the clout to change entrenched practices.’
    • ‘He knew that, unlike the international conservation groups, he didn't have the clout to get funding from the UN's Development Program.’
    • ‘There are few people in the world of popular music who have as much influence and clout as he does.’
    • ‘Computer-related businesses exerted enormous economic clout as the twentieth century ended.’
    • ‘The idea is to give domestic artists and record companies, who may not have the promotional clout of their American counterparts, a better chance of getting their music out to the public.’
    • ‘If women have financial clout or high political or business positions, then they too can determine the changes that will affect their lives and the lives of others.’
    • ‘But he admits that non-governmental organizations in these countries have a lot of political clout.’
    • ‘He lacks the clout to fully assert himself - he remains fundamentally isolated.’
    • ‘That reflects a relationship where the company is using its monopoly clout to drive some hard bargains.’
    • ‘It will have such political clout and such economic power that it will dictate the terms.’
    • ‘And by belonging to a national organisation it meant that local businesses had clout on the big issues such as excessive bureaucracy and taxation.’
    • ‘And with their financial clout, it is hard to argue that they would not have a significantly positive economic impact on the economy.’
    influence, power, pull, weight, sway, leverage, control, say, mastery, dominance, domination, advantage
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  • 3archaic A piece of cloth or article of clothing.

    • ‘Perhaps you might like to send me some pictures of you in your clouts.’
  • 4Archery
    A target twelve times the usual size, placed flat on the ground with a flag marking its centre and used in long-distance shooting.

    • ‘This type of sight allows the archer to aim directly at the clout flag while still holding the bow at an elevated angle so the arrow will travel the required distance.’
    1. 4.1 A long-distance shot that hits a clout.
  • 5

    short for clout nail

verb

[with object]
  • 1informal Hit (someone or something) hard.

    ‘I clouted him round the head’
    • ‘They might think this is some form of defence strategy against marauding sharks but in fact it makes it easier to prevent a rock accidentally clouting anyone on the head during the next part of the plan.’
    • ‘His shot was so venomous and expertly delivered that he did not even move as the ball sped over him, flattened and clouted the netting.’
    • ‘As I do so, I clout the dog with my elbow [probably right in the face].’
    • ‘Mis-timing the approach can see the horse actually land in the open ditch or clout the fence halfway up.’
    • ‘I smiled, then abruptly frowned and clouted him lightly over the head.’
    • ‘I was one of them, until my sister, huge and intimidating then as now, got wind of it, went over to the bully, clouted him, and told him what to expect if it ever happened again.’
    • ‘Coldly he clouted her and she crumpled, and Shawn barely caught her before she hit the ground.’
    • ‘How do I know you won't clout me the moment my back is turned?’
    • ‘The red-haired woman held her stun rod inches from Jewel's face, ready to clout her across the head.’
    • ‘The following year he would clout 25 home runs, to lead the league.’
    • ‘Not that he lasts long, as his opponent viciously clouts him from behind.’
    • ‘Then there was a tremendous splash as the dog's fully-clad owner jumped into the pond and began wading through hip-deep water, clouting the fleeing swan with a stick.’
    • ‘Behind her, a woman grabs another troublemaker by the ear and clouts him over the head, to the delight of the bystanders.’
    • ‘I managed to avoid clouting my camera on a rock on the long swim back.’
    • ‘Whether he got clouted in the face more often after crossing the path of a black cat or breaking a mirror is what puts superstition to the test.’
    • ‘Crawford shrugged him off and then clouted the ball from 30 yards with his other foot this time, the right one.’
    • ‘On the program was a comedy duo that exchanged jests and japes and clouted one another upon the head with Indian clubs.’
    • ‘The assistant trainer had clouted people for much less.’
    • ‘In the time that it took for Eric to register his astonishment, the staff clouted the side of his head and sent him sprawling.’
    • ‘He tried to stand in front of her but was clouted on the head so hard that he went unconscious temporarily.’
    • ‘She ended up clouting Fred on the side of the head, and they collapsed on the floor in a heap.’
    • ‘She drew her sword one-handed and clouted my side with a strong back-hand blow.’
    • ‘He caught me off guard and clouted me in the side of the face.’
    • ‘He'd spent his life being clouted by Dudley and bullied by his aunt and uncle.’
    • ‘‘I managed to clout it with an oar and take it back for a surprise fresh meal,’ he says.’
    • ‘John hugely enjoys his regular opportunity to terrify the children and clout his fellow cast members!’
    • ‘He balled up his fist and clouted his companion right on the side of the head, felling him like a stunned ox.’
    • ‘If anyone clouts the ball harder than the midfielder you would not want to be on the receiving end.’
    • ‘She was now sitting up and playfully clouted him.’
    • ‘The foreman (quite rightly) clouted him and snatched the volume away.’
    • ‘He nearly gets one of those when his staff dismantle the stall and accidentally clout him over the head with the flagpole.’
    • ‘The home team, hugely superior, clouted in four goals and then eased up to charitably allow their opponents one.’
    • ‘He only submitted because she would have clouted him if he hadn't.’
    • ‘I had to resort to clouting her with my underwater flashgun; she looked at me reproachfully with her enormous eyes and went off in search of more receptive playmates!’
    • ‘During meal times, there is much fighting, growling and clouting.’
    • ‘The horse, who would have won even more convincingly that day had he not clouted the final fence, looks capable of following-up in similar company tomorrow.’
    hit, strike, punch, smack, slap, cuff, thump, beat, batter, pound, pummel, thrash, rap, spank, buffet, hammer, bang, knock, box someone's ears
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  • 2archaic Mend with a patch.

    ‘he helps the women clout their pans’
    repair, fix, put back together, piece together, patch up, restore, sew, sew up, stitch, darn, patch, cobble, botch, vamp, vamp up
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Phrases

  • ne'er cast a clout till May be out

    • proverb Do not discard your winter clothes until summer has fully arrived.

      • ‘There's certainly an abundance of May blossom about, and the excellent weather has seen me casting clouts like they were going out of fashion.’

Origin

Old English clūt (in the sense ‘a patch or metal plate’); related to Dutch kluit ‘lump, clod’, also to cleat and clot. The shift of sense to ‘heavy blow’, which dates from late Middle English, is difficult to explain; possibly the change occurred first in the verb (from ‘put a patch on’ to ‘hit hard’).

Pronunciation

clout

/klaʊt/