Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To cause distaste or disgust by supplying with too much of something originally pleasant, especially something rich or sweet; surfeit.
  • intransitive v. To be too filling, rich, or sweet.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To fill up or choke up; to stop up.
  • v. To clog, to glut, or satisfy, as the appetite; to satiate.
  • v. To fill to loathing; to surfeit.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To fill or choke up; to stop up; to clog.
  • transitive v. To glut, or satisfy, as the appetite; to satiate; to fill to loathing; to surfeit.
  • transitive v. To penetrate or pierce; to wound.
  • transitive v. To spike, as a cannon.
  • transitive v. To stroke with a claw.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To pierce; gore.
  • In farriery, to prick (a horse) in shoeing.
  • To stop up; obstruct; clog.
  • To spike; drive a spike into the vent of: as, to cloy a gun.
  • To satiate; gratify to repletion or so as to cause loathing; surfeit; sate.
  • Synonyms Sate, etc. (see satisfy), pall, glut, gorge.
  • To stroke with a claw.
  • n. An artificial mixture of plastic character, in this respect resembling clay.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. cause surfeit through excess though initially pleasing
  • v. supply or feed to surfeit

Etymologies

Short for obsolete accloy, to clog, from Middle English acloien, from Old French encloer, to drive a nail into, from Medieval Latin inclāvāre : Latin in-, in; see in-2 + Latin clāvāre, to nail (from clāvus, nail).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • Bad as was to me this detection by San Carlo, this-frost in July, this blow from a bride, there was still a worse, namely the cloy or satiety of the saints.

    Representative Men

  • In the words of this table _oi_ and _oy_ are pronounced alike. coy coil join loin toil soil foist boil coin cloy point broil joist hoist joint enjoy voice royal noise spoil moist avoid choice annoy doily employ oyster anoint poison boiler

    The Beacon Second Reader

  • Yet predictable and familiar though they may be, in "Falling Skies" they do not cloy.

    Hollow Points and Cream Puffs

  • I played it several times and it was OK but after a while the game sarted to cloy on me.

    New Ogres on the Horizon? « Third Point of Singularity

  • Not that she found kisses were not sweet, but that she feared with repetition they would cloy.

    WHEN GOD LAUGHS

  • Something in this resembles the versatile split-second shift from cloy to edge, from acrid to sentiment and back again, in Emin's work; the neon Be Faithful to your dreams (1998) next to Good Smile Great Come (2000) next to MY CUNT IS WET WITH FEAR (1998) next to Love is What You Want (2011).

    Tracey Emin: 'What you see is what I am'

  • The fact that I first met it as part of a pavlova didn't help: the deep clouds of snow-white sugar-cake need a fruit with a sting in its tail (the Antipodeans are bang on with their inclusion of passion fruit) if the dessert isn't to cloy.

    Tender delights

  • In the kitchen I find adding lemon, in the form of syrup, zest or juice, has a dazzling effect, removing at once their tendency to cloy.

    Nigel Slater's peach recipes

  • Hitchcock is not cloy or vague about what happens to Marion.

    Scary vs. Horrifying

  • And blockbusters, however great, can cloy and parch simultaneously.

    Diana and Other Delights

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Comments

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  • Wonderful, Prolagus! While of course I know and love the word cloying, it never occurred to me to wonder about the verb it comes from. Now I've added it to my "old but still juicy" list.

    I love the quote: "she makes hungry / where most she satisfies" – delicious. That Bill Shakespeare sure could write.

    August 24, 2008

  • Ooh, that's good. In every way.

    August 24, 2008

  • "Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
    Her infinite variety: other women cloy
    The appetites they feed, but she makes hungry
    Where most she satisfies."


    (William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra)

    August 24, 2008