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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