Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Language: Old English
Origin: clingan

cling

verb
     
cling past tense and past participle clung [intransitive]
1 [always + adverb/preposition] to hold someone or something tightly, especially because you do not feel safe
cling to/on/at etc
He wailed and clung to his mother.
Passengers clung desperately onto the lifeboats.
2 [always + adverb/preposition] to stick to someone or something, or seem to surround them
cling to/around etc
His wet shirt clung to his body.
The smell of cigarette smoke clung to her clothes.
3 to stay close to someone all the time because you are too dependent on them or do not feel safe - used to show disapproval:
Some children tend to cling on their first day at school.
a less clinging wife

cling on

phrasal verb
to continue trying to stay in power, in business etc:
Other businesses cling on and hope.

cling to something

phrasal verb
1 to continue to believe or do something, even though it may not be true or useful any longer
cling to the hope/belief/idea etc (that)
He clung to the hope that she would be cured.
2 to stay in a position of power or stay ahead, when this is difficult, or to try to do this:
an attempt to cling to power

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