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meaning of 'clout'.

(49 Posts)
Fennel Fri 19-Jul-19 15:15:24

This question is mainly for Geordies. But other replies are welcome.
I used the word 'clout' recently to mean a slap or a punch.
A clout around the head. Then I remembered it can also mean clothing eg "Ne'er cast a clout till May be out".
Then I looked it up and the modern use means more like political influence.
I even found one that says it means vagina!
So what do you think?

grandtanteJE65 Fri 19-Jul-19 15:20:36

I agree with you. In the West of Scotland a clout is a buffet on the side of your head or somewhere else. You can clout fencing posts too, if you are hammering them.

A clout or more often cloot is either a garment or a wash cloth,

I thought clout in the political sense was pronounced cloo (supposedly French)

MissAdventure Fri 19-Jul-19 15:22:10

I'm in the south east and clout means to hit someone here, too.

Ilovecheese Fri 19-Jul-19 15:24:34

I have always understood the neer cast a clout to mean a layer of clothing.

Here in the North West also means to hit someone.

Ilovecheese Fri 19-Jul-19 15:27:10

Yes, just remembered, to say that someone has a lot of clout, does mean a lot of influence,not necessarily just in politics, but could mean in a work or social setting.

B9exchange Fri 19-Jul-19 15:35:12

Several meanings to me, eg clout round the head, having sufficient clout (influence) to get things done, a clout is a stubby sort of tack for plasterboard.

'Ne'er cast a clout till May is out' meant don't stop wearing a vest until it is far enough into summer. I never knew whether the 'May' referred to the month or the plant!

Probably better not to research how it is used on social media!

Gonegirl Fri 19-Jul-19 15:37:11

Agree with all in OP. Never heard of it meaning vagina though!

MawBroonsback Fri 19-Jul-19 15:37:14

Grandtante, “clout” meaning influence is definitely pronounced “clowt” (in the same way that “nous” is pronounced “nowce”) but the other meanings of clout/cloot as a cloth or smack - often round the head - are particularly well known in the north of England and Scotland.
A “Clootie Dumpling” is boiled in a cloth (cloot/clout) for instance.

LadyGracie Fri 19-Jul-19 15:37:59

I’m in the sort of mood when I’d love to give someone a clout!

Nonnie Fri 19-Jul-19 15:48:29

I know, and have probably used, all 3 meanings, never heard of the 4th

Gonegirl Fri 19-Jul-19 15:54:07

I made a clootie dumpling once. It was a bit soggy, but delicious.

Grannybags Fri 19-Jul-19 15:54:22

Another one here who has used all three but never for a vagina!

grannymo123 Fri 19-Jul-19 16:01:43

or a teatowel in which to boil a "clootie dumpling"

boheminan Fri 19-Jul-19 16:02:20

My mum came from rural Essex, and to her a clout was the rag she wore when she menstruated.

Gonegirl Fri 19-Jul-19 16:06:16

Oh. Well that could almost explain the vagina thing. Perhaps.

gillybob Fri 19-Jul-19 16:06:36

I’m a Geordie and always understood the word “clout” to mean being hit/smacked as in “do that again and you’ll get a clout” .

I have also heard it used as “having more influence” or “more say” as in “his word carries more clout”’ confused

Gonegirl Fri 19-Jul-19 16:07:26

I remember them wearing rags for that purpose. shock Horrible!

kittylester Fri 19-Jul-19 16:07:45

I understand the 3 meanings menationed in the OP and I live in the Midlands - so not just a northern thing.

Me too, LadyGracie, luckily he is upstairs reading at the moment so the mood could abate. grin

Gonegirl Fri 19-Jul-19 16:08:44


Elegran Fri 19-Jul-19 16:22:53

I would use clout (pronounced clowt) mostly as a "clip round the ear".

Clout (said as (clowt) as a word for influence is like saying that the person with clout can metaphorically clout people round the ear to get their way.

Clout (pronounced cloot) is a cloth. A clootie dumpling is a pudding boiled in a cloot.

"Ne'er cast a clout till May be oot." = don't take off a layer until May (either the month or the blossom) is out.

My Fife mother-in-law would say "A bonny face suits the dishclout." = a pretty woman looks good in any old rag.

KatyK Fri 19-Jul-19 16:31:15

Here in Brum we say 'you'll get a clout round the ear 'ole'.

boheminan Fri 19-Jul-19 16:33:35

Gonegirl - I believe it was common practice for women to wear clouts - ripped up rags that were washed and reused - this was before the coming of sanitary pads, mum was doing this in the late 50's early 60's. Horrible but necessary.

wildswan16 Fri 19-Jul-19 17:03:46

It was also used for a baby's nappy. In Scotland anyway, not sure about south of the border.

grannylyn65 Fri 19-Jul-19 17:11:05

Ne er cast a clout till the May be out

arosebyanyothername Fri 19-Jul-19 17:15:48

A clout is a clip round the ear or a lump of mud.