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.
"slice or small bulb forming together a large bulb, as of garlic," Old English clufu "clove (of garlic), bulb, tuber," from Proto-Germanic *klubo "cleft, thing cloven" (source also of Old High German chlobo, Old Norse klofi), from PIE root *gleubh- "to tear apart, cleave."
Its Germanic cognates mostly lurk in compounds that translate as "clove-leek," such as Old Saxon clufloc, Old High German chlobilouh. Dissimilation produced Dutch knoflook, German Knoblauch.
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to tear apart, cleave."
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek glyphe "a carving," glyphein "to hollow out, cut out with a knife, engrave, carve;" Latin glubere "to peel, shell, strip;" Old High German klioban, Old English cleofan, Old Norse kljufa "to cleave," Old Norse klofi, Middle Dutch clove "a cleft."
also *kleu-, klēu-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "hook, crook," also "crooked or forked branch" (used as a bar or bolt in primitive structures).
It forms all or part of: anschluss; autoclave; clause; claustrophobia; claves; clavichord; clavicle; clavier; claviger; clechy; clef; cloison; cloisonne; cloister; close (v.); close (adj.); closet; closure; cloture; clove (n.1) "dried flowerbud of a certain tropical tree, used as a spice;" cloy; conclave; conclude; disclose; enclave; enclose; exclude; foreclose; include; occlude; preclude; recluse; seclude; slot (n.2) "bar or bolt used to fasten a door, window, etc."
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek kleis "bar, bolt, key; collarbone," klobos "cage;" Latin clavis "key," clavus "nail," claudere "to shut, close;" Lithuanian kliūti "to catch, be caught on," kliaudžiu, kliausti "to check, hinder," kliūvu, kliūti "to clasp, hang;" Old Church Slavonic ključi "hook, key," ključiti "shut;" Old Irish clo "nail," Middle Irish clithar "hedge, fence;" Old High German sliozan "shut," German schließen "to shut," Schlüssel "key."
"divided, split," Old English clofen, past-participle adjective from cleave (v.1). Sometimes shortened to clove, hence clove-hitch (1769), etc. Cloven hoof, characteristic of ruminant quadrupeds (and ascribed in mythology to Pan and the Devil) is from c. 1200.
plant of the genus Trifolium, widely cultivated as fodder, Middle English claver, from Old English clafre, clæfre "clover," from Proto-Germanic *klaibron (source also of Old Saxon kle, Middle Low German klever, Middle Dutch claver, Dutch klaver, Old High German kleo, German Klee "clover"), which is of uncertain origin. Klein and Liberman write that it is probably from West Germanic *klaiwaz- "sticky pap" (see clay), and Liberman adds, "The sticky juice of clover was the base of the most popular sort of honey."
The modern spelling prevailed after c. 1700. The exact phrase four-leafed clover attested from 1831; first reference in English to the supposed luck of a four-leaf clover is from c. 1500 ("The Gospelles of Dystaues"). The ratio of four- to three-leaved clovers is said to be 1 in 10,000 or 1 in 5,000. To be in clover "live luxuriously" is 1710, "clover being extremely delicious and fattening to cattle" [Johnson].