1. The incombustible residue, fused into an irregular lump, that remains after the combustion of coal.
2. A partially vitrified brick or a mass of bricks fused together.
3. An extremely hard burned brick.
4. Vitrified matter expelled by a volcano.
a. A sour note in a musical performance: hit a clinker.
b. A mistake; a blunder.
c. Something of inferior quality; a conspicuous failure: a clinker of a show.
6. Chiefly British Something admirable or first-rate.
intr.v. clink·ered, clink·er·ing, clink·ers
To form clinkers in burning.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.