Definition of clout in English:

clout

noun

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

    ‘a clout round the ear’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Swans are normally very strong and could inflict some nasty bites or give strong clouts with their wings.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘That said, he delivered a swift clout round about her ears.’
    • ‘He had no idea what the fuss was about but fetched her a good clout round the ear just to be sure.’
    • ‘The player stood off and a massive clout with the right foot from around 25 yards followed.’
    • ‘The result was a thundering clout behind the right ear.’
    • ‘But he gives it a clout and knocks it eight feet past.’
    • ‘I would welcome back the past, where scrumping apples would earn you a clout around the ear.’
    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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘And it's very clear that these are the nations which have the clout at the global level.’
    • ‘But the private shareholders, the little people who had none of the big boys' clout and bargaining power, were treated with contempt.’
    • ‘Computer-related businesses exerted enormous economic clout as the twentieth century ended.’
    • ‘His leadership has been accompanied by immense popularity that has endowed him with significant power and political clout.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘And he now has the clout to do something about it.’
    • ‘But he admits that non-governmental organizations in these countries have a lot of political clout.’
    • ‘And with their financial clout, it is hard to argue that they would not have a significantly positive economic impact on the economy.’
    • ‘There are few people in the world of popular music who have as much influence and clout as he does.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Sure, business interests deserve some clout in a democracy, but this is ridiculous.’
    • ‘He lacks the clout to fully assert himself - he remains fundamentally isolated.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I think television has 10 times the clout of any column.’
    • ‘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 by belonging to a national organisation it meant that local businesses had clout on the big issues such as excessive bureaucracy and taxation.’
    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’
    • ‘He caught me off guard and clouted me in the side of the face.’
    • ‘I smiled, then abruptly frowned and clouted him lightly over the head.’
    • ‘If anyone clouts the ball harder than the midfielder you would not want to be on the receiving end.’
    • ‘Not that he lasts long, as his opponent viciously clouts him from behind.’
    • ‘He only submitted because she would have clouted him if he hadn't.’
    • ‘How do I know you won't clout me the moment my back is turned?’
    • ‘John hugely enjoys his regular opportunity to terrify the children and clout his fellow cast members!’
    • ‘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!’
    • ‘He'd spent his life being clouted by Dudley and bullied by his aunt and uncle.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Crawford shrugged him off and then clouted the ball from 30 yards with his other foot this time, the right one.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I managed to avoid clouting my camera on a rock on the long swim back.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Mis-timing the approach can see the horse actually land in the open ditch or clout the fence halfway up.’
    • ‘He nearly gets one of those when his staff dismantle the stall and accidentally clout him over the head with the flagpole.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As I do so, I clout the dog with my elbow [probably right in the face].’
    • ‘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.’
    hit, strike, punch, smack, slap, cuff, thump, beat, batter, pound, pummel, thrash, rap, spank, buffet, hammer, bang, knock, box someone's ears
    wallop, belt, whack, clobber, sock, clip, bop, biff, swipe, tan, lay one on
    View synonyms
  • 2archaic Mend with a patch:

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