Clingy Definition. What does clingy mean?



Clingy is the adjective form of the word cling. Cling simply a person or a piece of clothing that clings or sticks to you. In addition to describing  the way that a piece of clothing behaves, clingy can also describe a person’s behavior.

  • The mom wanted a break from her clingy child.
  • I don’t like that kind of fabric, it’s very clingy.

Cling is the verb form of clingy, and it has four different meanings, all of which can be used in its adjective form to describe something as clingy.

Cling and Clingy- can refer to when a person or an animal hold on to something or someone tightly.It is often used in it’s past tense form; clung. Usually when someone clings on to something in this way, it is out of fear. That fear may be because something threatening is happening, or it may be an imagined fearful situation.

  • The cat clung to his owner in fear, as he watched the water in the bathtub.
  • The two little girls were clinging to each other, after hearing the unknown sounds in the dark.
  • The baby animals were so clingy, they wouldn’t let go of their mom.

Synonyms for Clingy

There are a few very popular synonyms for this definition of cling or its adjective form clingy.

Clutch- means to grasp or hold on to something tightly and in an eager way. Often times clutch is used to describe when someone is holding on to something because they don’t want someone else to take it, although it can be used in other ways.

  • She clutched onto her purse when the man announced he was robbing the restaurant.

Grip- As a synonym to clingy means to take and keep a strong hold onto something. 

  • She gripped his hand tightly.

Grasp- means to take something and hold onto it firmly.

  • She quickly grasped the piece of paper away from her sister.

Cling and Clingy can also mean that someone remains very close. This is usually used to refer to a person, and it’s usually used in a negative context, but it doesn’t always have to be.

It often means that someone is hanging around someone and either that person is tired of the clingy person always being there, or people that know that person are tired of the clingy person always being there.

  • His family thought his money manager was too clingy and was just using him to get more money.
  • Give me some space, don’t  cling so tightly to me.
  • He thinks that if he clings onto her, she won’t break up with him.

Synonyms for Clingy

The same synonyms for the first definition of cling can be used for this definition as well. There are also some phrases that can be used as a synonym.

Attach oneself to– means that someone connects or fastens themselves to someone or something. Usually when this phrase is used someone is temporarily binding themselves to something or someone.

  • It’s like she’s attached herself to you. She’s been following you around all night.
  • The protester attached himself to the door.

Hang on to – refers to someone sticking with or standing with, or binding themselves to  someone or something. Usually when this phrase is used as a synonym for clingy someone is hanging on to something too long.

  • Please stop hanging on to my arm.
  • He will hang on to that friendship until the end, no matter what.

Cling or Clingy can also to be persistently faithful to someone or something. This is usually done in a stubborn way, and clinging on is not usually a positive thing.

  • Clinging on to the ideas of the past is how we got into this mess.
  • I am not going to cling on to this relationship any longer.
  • She’s very clingy, and I wonder if it’s for the right reasons.

The phrases for the second definition of cling can be used  as synonyms for this definition of cling as well.

Finally cling or clingy can mean to be overly dependant on someone emotionally.

  • At some point you have to stop clinging on to your parents.
  • Try to be independent and don’t cling so much to your friends.

Antonyms for Clingy

These antonyms apply to all of the above definitions.

Release- means that someone or something is able to escape or have free movement.

  • After hours of being locked in the room, the woman was finally released.

Detach-  means to be removed or separated from something.

  • It feels good to be able to detach from technology for a few hours.
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