Etymology
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cloy (v.)

"weary by too much, fill to loathing, surfeit," 1520s, from Middle English cloyen "hinder movement, encumber" (late 14c.), a shortening of accloyen (early 14c.), from Old French encloer "to fasten with a nail, grip, grasp," figuratively "to hinder, check, stop, curb," from Late Latin inclavare "drive a nail into a horse's foot when shoeing," from Latin clavus "a nail" (from PIE root *klau- "hook").

Accloye is a hurt that cometh of shooing, when a Smith driveth a nail in the quick, which make him to halt. [Edward Topsell, "The History of Four-footed Beasts," 1607]

The figurative meaning "fill to a satiety, overfill" is attested for accloy from late 14c. Related: Cloyed; cloying.

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clincher (n.)

early 14c., "person or thing that clinches" (i.e., secures nails by bending down or riveting the pointed end), late 15c. as a class of shipyard worker; agent noun from clinch (v.). As a type of nail, from 1735; as a conclusive statement, argument, etc., 1737. Clincher-built "made of boards or metal pieces which overlap one another" is from 1769.

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clench (n.)

1590s, "the part of a nail that clinches," from clench (v.). Also "mode of securing a nail by hammering it back once driven." Meaning "a grasp, grip" is from 1779. Compare clinch.

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clinch (v.)

1560s, "fix securely (a driven nail) by bending and beating it back," a variant of clench (q.v.). The sense of "settle decisively" is first recorded 1716, from the notion of "clinching" the point of a nail to keep it fast. Boxing sense is from 1860. Related: Clinched; clinching.

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tack (n.1)

"clasp, hook, fastener," also "a nail" of some kind, c. 1400, from Old North French taque "nail, pin, peg" (Old French tache, 12c., "nail, spike, tack; pin brooch"), probably from a Germanic source (compare Middle Dutch tacke "twig, spike," Frisian tak "a tine, prong, twig, branch," Low German takk "tine, pointed thing," German Zacken "sharp point, tooth, prong"), from Proto-Germanic *tag-. Meaning "small, sharp nail with a flat head" is attested from mid-15c. The meaning "rope to hold the corner of a sail in place" is first recorded late 15c.

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hobnail (n.)

"short, thick nail with a large head," 1590s, from nail (n.); the first element probably identical with hob "rounded peg or pin used as a mark or target in games" (1580s), which is of unknown origin. See hob. Because they were used to make heavy boots and shoes, the word was used figuratively for "rustic person" 17c. and after. Related: Hobnailed.

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hangnail (n.)

also hang-nail, "sore strip of partially detached flesh at the side of a nail of the finger or toe," probably a 17c. or earlier folk etymology and sense alteration (as if from hang (v.) + (finger) nail) of Middle English agnail, angnail "a corn on the foot," from Old English agnail, angnail. The literal sense probably is "painful spike" (in the flesh). The first element would be Proto-Germanic *ang- "compressed, hard, painful" (from PIE root *angh- "tight, painfully constricted, painful"). The second element is Old English nægl "spike" (see nail (n.)).

Compare Old English angnes "anxiety, trouble, pain, fear;" angset "eruption, pustule." OED also compares Latin clavus, which "was both a nail (of iron, etc.) and a corn on the foot." Similar compounding in Old High German ungnagel, Frisian ongneil.

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clove (n.1)

dried flowerbud of a certain tropical tree, used as a spice, late 15c., earlier clowes (14c.), from Anglo-French clowes de gilofre (c. 1200), Old French clou de girofle "nail of gillyflower," so called from its shape, from Latin clavus "a nail" (from PIE root *klau- "hook"). For second element, see gillyflower. The two cloves were much confused in Middle English. The clove pink is so called from the scent of the flowers.

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clinch (n.)

1620s, "method of fastening ropes," nautical, from clinch (v.). Also compare clench (n.). Meaning "a fastening by bending a driven nail" is from 1650s. In pugilism, "grappling at close quarters," from 1875.

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scupper (n.)

"opening in a ship's side at deck level to let the water flow out," early 15c. (implied in scoper-nail "nail used to attach scupper leathers to a ship"), perhaps from Old French escopir "to spit out," because the water seems to spit out of it, or related to Dutch schop "shovel," or from Middle English scope "scoop" (see scoop (n.)).

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