August 31, 2017
clout (noun)
\KLOUT\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: pull, influence
How do you use it?
The restaurant's patrons intend to use their clout to persuade the owners to offer only fish that are not endangered.
Are you a word wiz?

"Clout" didn't always refer to the influence or pull someone has on someone else. Which of the answers below has an earlier meaning of the noun "clout"?

Surprise! Today's quiz is a freebie: all the answers are correct! Answer C just happens to be the oldest. "Clout" is a very old English word, known to have been used in the 700s to mean a piece of cloth or leather, especially for a patch. Later, "clout" referred to a metal plate on something (like a shoe) to prevent wear. Around 1400, "clout" took an unexpected turn, and came to mean "a blow with the hand." By 1500, "clout" was also used for an archery target and a shot that hit it. Perhaps under the influence of the "blow" and "hit target" senses, "clout" acquired the meaning of "influence" in the U.S. during the mid-1900s.
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