- 1 • informal A heavy blow with the hand or a hard object: a clout round the earMore example sentences
- 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.
- He had no idea what the fuss was about but fetched her a good clout round the ear just to be sure.
- 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.
- 2 [mass noun] • informal Influence or power, especially in politics or business: I knew she carried a lot of cloutMore example sentences
- His leadership has been accompanied by immense popularity that has endowed him with significant power and political clout.
- Those in the know will tell you he got in the team in the first place only thanks to family influence and political clout.
- It will have such political clout and such economic power that it will dictate the terms.
- 3 • archaic A piece of cloth or article of clothing.More example sentences
- Perhaps you might like to send me some pictures of you in your clouts.
- 4 Archery A target twelve times the usual size, placed flat on the ground with a flag marking its centre and used in long-distance shooting.More example sentences
- 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.
- 5 short for clout nail.
verb[with object] Back to top
- 1 • informal Hit (someone or something) hard: I clouted him round the headMore example sentences
- If anyone clouts the ball harder than the midfielder you would not want to be on the receiving end.
- 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.
- 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.
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').