Definition of clinch in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Confirm or settle (a contract or bargain)

    ‘to clinch a business deal’
    • ‘She clinched the agreement after writing a hit Star Wars novel last year.’
    • ‘A Saltaire artist who is celebrating his gallery's first anniversary is painting his way to further success after clinching two contracts.’
    • ‘You clinch business deals and gain in financial transactions.’
    • ‘And we're close I think to clinching a similar agreement on household products.’
    • ‘After much examination and a few rounds of long meadow, the bargain was clinched for £120 pounds.’
    • ‘In March the company inked a deal with BMW and, more recently, clinched a Ford contract.’
    • ‘Weeks later it was grudgingly confirmed that the firm had clinched the £32m deal.’
    • ‘There was also a negotiation game which equipped the students with skills necessary to clinch important business deals.’
    • ‘A rival firm clinched the business by promising £160,000, equating to a 15% rise in just two months.’
    • ‘According to the Guardian, ‘Ministers have been pressing India behind the scenes to clinch the contract’.’
    • ‘A Calverley vehicle leasing company has clinched multi-million-pound deals with three new clients.’
    • ‘After some haggling I clinched the bargain and drove away.’
    • ‘Business strategists from Bolton have clinched themselves another valuable contract.’
    • ‘Analysts say the Lockheed design may have clinched the contract for the company.’
    • ‘He insisted there was strong business logic for clinching a deal with the Chinese company.’
    • ‘The deal was clinched after a recent tour of Zambia by a German business delegation.’
    • ‘Around one-and-a-half million tenancy agreements are clinched each year worth nearly 6 billion and the OFT is determined these contracts must be fair.’
    • ‘Some firms have recently managed to clinch contracts in Angola.’
    • ‘Admittedly, there's something deeply and darkly satisfying about clinching a bargain, and it brings out the worst in people.’
    • ‘EDS has clinched a contract worth up to $9 billion to supply the US Navy and Marine Corps with a single, seamless network.’
    secure, settle, conclude, close, pull off, bring off, complete, confirm, seal, set the seal on, finalize, shake hands on, reach an agreement on
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    1. 1.1 Conclusively settle (an argument or debate)
      ‘these findings clinched the matter’
      • ‘But artistically, all I could suggest is that he explore the question, rather than clinch the issue with what is now a pat option in the arts: transcendence.’
      • ‘When cornered, he tends to reach for the emotional argument to clinch his case, but then he'll turn around and keep coming back for more.’
      • ‘To clinch the argument, we needed a fossil that unambiguously showed a nonavian dinosaur with a feathery body covering.’
      • ‘These newly discovered bacteria don't clinch this argument by any means.’
      • ‘More study and debate is necessary to clinch the issue.’
      • ‘Among the Chinese, humor is often used only to illustrate a concept, to prove a point, or to clinch an argument.’
      • ‘Clearly he has made the case for war today, but not clinched the argument.’
      • ‘Then the doorbell rings a second time, clinching the matter.’
      • ‘But although Reddin never clinches his argument about the tragic effects of the Kennedy cover-up, he at least raises political issues.’
      • ‘Interviewing Manny the lobsterman, a 30-year-old college grad with a paltry paycheck, helped clinch that argument.’
      • ‘At Wollaston in Northamptonshire, the discovery of grape pollen in Roman planting trenches seems to have clinched the argument.’
      • ‘To clinch the transaction, a lot depended on caring for the customer and meeting his or her demands.’
      • ‘The argument that clinched the debate, both in Whitby and in Toledo, was the ‘Roman-ness’ and universality of an authoritative tradition.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, she did not find archival evidence dating from before 1511, but the material from after that date is sufficient to clinch her argument.’
      • ‘It had to take a little over a week to eventually clinch this interview.’
      • ‘He challenged me with one of the feebler bits of rhetoric the faithful adopt to clinch the argument.’
      • ‘At the end of it all, the moral argument that clinches the debate for me is that capital punishment is effectively society's revenge.’
      • ‘It would be dangerous to view the dossier as having clinched the argument for war.’
      • ‘He produces a newspaper report of the court testimony of a tribal Aborigine which, he claims, clinches his argument.’
      • ‘Each of these works its way towards an endline ensured, provisionally at least, to settle the matter and clinch it.’
      settle, decide, determine, establish
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    2. 1.2 Confirm the winning or achievement of (a game, competition, or victory)
      ‘his team clinched the title’
      • ‘In his last five regular-season games, he record nine goals and an assist to help clinch the top playoff seed for the Fusion.’
      • ‘The winning golden goal to clinch the match 2-1 in extra time was scored by Ahn Jung-hwan, who plays for Italian team Perugia.’
      • ‘The Charlton boss was critical of his attacking players who he said frittered away a string of chances to clinch all three points.’
      • ‘Mobbed by joyous teammates, this goal clinched victory for Ilkley from the jaws of defeat.’
      • ‘The Cardinals, who lost to the Boston Red Sox in the World Series last year, are the first team to clinch a playoff berth this season.’
      • ‘Instead, she buckled and Davenport fought back to square the match, going on to clinch victory in the decider.’
      • ‘The St. Louis Cardinals became the first major league team to clinch a playoff spot this season, winning the NL Central for the third time in five seasons.’
      • ‘So when Mark Hensby tapped in his par putt on the second playoff hole to clinch his victory at the Deere, he also earned a spot at Royal Troon.’
      • ‘Then nippy forward Julianne O'Connell struck with a great goal which clinched victory for her team and a place in the final.’
      • ‘Needing just one win to clinch the last playoff spot, the C's have now lost three straight.’
      • ‘In extra time the red and green and gold men clinched victory and qualified to meet Meath in their second successive final against the Royals.’
      • ‘The country also clinched the team championship despite stiff opposition from Vietnam and Myanmar.’
      • ‘Heworth were unable to score the 12 runs needed for victory as Easingwold clinched the title with an advantage draw.’
      • ‘Ballintubber must have regrets about not clinching this game when on top and dictating matters for two thirds of the game.’
      • ‘She also scored in a 3-1 victory over Fulham that clinched the league title ahead of Charlton.’
      • ‘Gloucester scraped home in one of the most amazing finishes in years at Kingsholm but only clinched their semi-final victory in the 85th minute with a gift try.’
      • ‘Their double victory over Yorvik clinched the title, and both teams will play second division netball next season.’
      • ‘Then there was the goal which clinched victory at Ibrox three years ago to send Rangers tumbling out of the Uefa Cup.’
      • ‘By the final whistle, Celtic were two wins away from clinching the piece of silverware that really matters.’
      • ‘Warrington finally clinched victory with a goal five minutes from time.’
      win, be the victor in, be the winner of, be victorious in, come first in, finish first in, take first prize in, triumph in, achieve success in, be successful in, prevail in
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  • 2no object Grapple at close quarters, especially (of boxers) so as to be too closely engaged for full-arm blows.

    • ‘By clinching with Frazier, Ali prevented further damage.’
    • ‘He would stay close enough to always clinch as soon as Rahman set to punch.’
    • ‘Branco rocked Gatti with a big shot and the battle moved into the ropes as Gatti clinched.’
    • ‘Any good striking fighter will tell you that it is virtually impossible to keep a worthy opponent from clinching with the other fighter.’
    • ‘Heavyweights throw like one-two-three punches and grab and clinch and grab and clinch.’
    grapple, wrestle, struggle with each other, scuffle with each other
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    1. 2.1 (of two people) embrace.
  • 3Secure (a nail or rivet) by driving the point sideways when it has penetrated.

    • ‘After the shoe is nailed on, bring the foot out in front of the horse and put it on a stand or on your knee so you can clinch the nail.’
    • ‘To clinch the nail, it is necessary to hold a heavy metal block against the rib and drive the nail home against this.’
    secure, fasten, make fast, fix, clamp, bolt, rivet, pinion
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    1. 3.1 Fasten (a rope or fishing line) with a clinch knot.
      • ‘This will help the knot clinch down properly and keep it from pulling out or breaking from the spool.’
      • ‘Yeah, the boats weren't clinched down quite tight enough.’


  • 1A struggle or scuffle at close quarters, especially (in boxing) one in which the fighters become too closely engaged for full-arm blows.

    • ‘Smoger checked both men when they came out of a clinch in the eighth round rubbing their heads.’
    • ‘Ortega's best work through the middle of the bout came from manhandling his opponent in clinches.’
    • ‘He looked like he was losing that fight from the way I remember it, slipping to the canvas several times out of clinches.’
    • ‘She'd felt bulky stirrings against her belly, and had barely broken the clinch in time to spare his dignity.’
    • ‘Neither guy tried to make a war out of it and just practiced their moves and showed their professionalism in the clinches.’
    1. 1.1 An embrace, especially an amorous one.
      ‘we went into a passionate clinch on the sofa’
      • ‘She has branded allegations that she enjoyed a steamy clinch with a married man as totally ‘false and salacious’.’
      • ‘Everyone in the lobby grabbed me for at least a so-so passion-intensive clinch.’
      • ‘And the term ‘added red’ is placed next to an amorous pair about to go into a clinch.’
      • ‘Audiences were engrossed by Gilbert and Garbo's off-screen romance after seeing their passionate clinches in The Flesh and the Devil.’
      • ‘It would have to be Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr rolling in a passionate clinch on the wet sand in From Here To Eternity.’
      • ‘In fact, Derek and his terrified party hadn't stumbled on a poltergeist, but a couple in a passionate clinch who hadn't heard the ghoul-hunting crowd creep up on them.’
      embrace, hug, cuddle, squeeze, hold, clasp, bear hug
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  • 2A knot used to fasten a rope to a ring or cringle, using a half hitch with the end seized back on its own part.

    • ‘The experienced anglers captured the attention of young boys by showing them fishing techniques, including how to tie the perfect clinch knot.’
    • ‘I looked up from the tedious chore of wrapping the improved clinch knot and saw Frazier playing a keeper speckled trout.’


Late 16th century (in the senses ‘something that grips’ and ‘fix securely’): variant of clench.