Etymology
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cling (v.)
Old English clingan "hold fast, adhere closely; congeal, shrivel" (strong verb, past tense clang, past participle clungen), from Proto-Germanic *klingg- (source also of Danish klynge "to cluster;" Old High German klinga "narrow gorge;" Old Norse klengjask "press onward;" Danish klinke, Dutch klinken "to clench;" German Klinke "latch").

The main sense shifted in Middle English to "adhere to" (something else), "stick together." Of persons in embrace, c. 1600. Figuratively (to hopes, outmoded ideas, etc.), from 1580s. Of clothes from 1792. Related: Clung; clinging.
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clingy (adj.)

1680s, of things, "apt to cling, adhesive," from cling + -y (2). Of persons (especially children) from 1969, though the image of a "clingy vine" in a relationship goes back to 1896. Related: Clinginess.

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clung 
Old English clungen, past tense and past participle of cling.
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Saran 
U.S. trademark name for PVC used as a cling-film, 1940, by Dow Chemical Company.
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clingstone (n.)

"fruit (generally a peach) having the pulp adhering firmly to the stone," 1722, from cling (v.) + stone (n.). Also as an adjective.

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clench (v.)

"to grasp firmly," c. 1300, from Old English (be)clencan "to hold fast, make cling," causative of clingan (see cling, and compare clinch); compare stench/stink. Meaning "to set firmly together" (of fists, teeth, etc.) is from 1747 (clinch in this sense is attested from 1630s). Figurative sense of "fix or secure by a final act" is from 1670s.  Related: Clenched; clenching.

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dybbuk (n.)
"malevolent spirit of a dead person possessing the body of a living one," 1903, from Jewish folklore, from Hebrew dibbuk, from dabak "to cling, cleave to."
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hang on (v.)
1860, "to remain clinging," 1860, especially "cling fondly to" (1871); see hang (v.) + on (adv.). As a command to be patient, wait a minute, from 1936, originally in telephone conversations.
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inherent (adj.)
1570s, from Latin inhaerentem (nominative inhaerens), present participle of inhaerere "be closely connected with, be inherent," literally "adhere to, cling to," from in- "in" (from PIE root *en "in") + haerere "to adhere, stick" (see hesitation). Related: Inherently.
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cleave (v.2)

"to adhere, cling," Middle English cleven, clevien, cliven, from Old English clifian, cleofian "to stick fast, adhere," also figurative, from West Germanic *klibajan (source also of Old Saxon klibon, Old High German kliban, Dutch kleven, Old High German kleben, German kleben "to stick, cling, adhere"), from PIE *gloi- "to stick" (see clay).

The confusion was less in Old English when cleave (v.1) was a class 2 strong verb; but it has grown since cleave (v.1) weakened, which may be why both are largely superseded by stick (v.) and split (v.).

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