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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.

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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Definitions of clinch from WordNet
1
clinch (v.)
secure or fasten by flattening the ends of nails or bolts;
The girder was clinched into the wall
clinch (v.)
hold a boxing opponent with one or both arms so as to prevent punches;
clinch (v.)
hold in a tight grasp;
Synonyms: clench
clinch (v.)
embrace amorously;
clinch (v.)
flatten the ends (of nails and rivets);
the nails were clinched
clinch (v.)
settle conclusively;
clinch a deal
2
clinch (n.)
(boxing) the act of one boxer holding onto the other to avoid being hit and to rest momentarily;
clinch (n.)
a small slip noose made with seizing;
Synonyms: clench
clinch (n.)
the flattened part of a nail or bolt or rivet;
clinch (n.)
a device (generally used by carpenters) that holds things firmly together;
Synonyms: clamp
clinch (n.)
a tight or amorous embrace;
Synonyms: hug / squeeze
From wordnet.princeton.edu