Definition of cloy in English:



[with object]usually as adjective cloying
  • Disgust or sicken (someone) with an excess of sweetness, richness, or sentiment.

    ‘a romantic, rather cloying story’
    no object ‘the first sip gives a malty taste that never cloys’
    • ‘This tale cloys today's palate: we miss the astringent irony which Thomas Hardy would have brought to circumstances like these.’
    • ‘What had felt so spirited and fresh back then feels disappointingly syrupy and cloying now.’
    • ‘He swallowed, the sweetness of the pancakes cloying and thick on his tongue.’
    • ‘It's cloying to my ears, all this sweetness, all this oh-what-a-wonderful-couple-we-are.’
    • ‘He portrays Ken as both likable and convincing without making the characterization cloying.’
    • ‘The story comes close to cloying, but never crosses the boundary.’
    • ‘He does not attempt to jazz things up with cloying camerawork and jarring technique in an effort to be stylish.’
    • ‘The juice from grapes harvested at optimum ripeness for wine has a rather cloying sweetness which can overshadow the refreshing acidity.’
    • ‘That the nostalgic bent can lapse into cloying sentimentality is obvious.’
    • ‘The pit swirled down into oblivion, a thick, cloying miasma threatening to devour him if he drew too close to it.’
    • ‘This kind of singing cuts through the noise but can become cloying.’
    • ‘You brushed past her gently on the way into the flat, and you almost tasted her perfume, so sickly sweet, so cloying.’
    • ‘No gentler moment has ever been captured, yet it isn't in the least sentimental or cloying.’
    • ‘There's the moist, sticky sensation on the tongue, as the gooey melting thickness cloys one's mouth irresistibly.’
    • ‘The beat lilts rather than swings, and there's a sweetness about the melodies that can become cloying if you listen too much.’
    • ‘It breeds a corrupting self-awareness that cloys mind and heart alike.’
    • ‘It did not result in the best pie - it was cloying and overly sweet.’
    • ‘But when the songs are less than first class they can sound cloying and too fussy.’
    • ‘Their romantic relationship is nicely developed, but not to the point where it becomes cloying.’
    • ‘The air hangs heavy, thick and impenetrable, as cloying and claustrophobic as incense.’
    become sickening, become nauseating, pall, become distasteful, become tedious, become tiresome
    sickly sweet, sugary, syrupy, saccharine, honeyed, oversweet
    View synonyms


Late Middle English: shortening of obsolete accloy ‘stop up, choke’, from Old French encloyer ‘drive a nail into’, from medieval Latin inclavare, from clavus ‘a nail’.