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clinch Options
justina bandol
Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2018 5:37:56 AM
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Ben Urich’s index finger is a key player, versatile, dependable for mundane tasks and in the clinch, where it truly distinguishes itself. Never hesitant to mine a dry nostril after barnacles, yet a sensitive enough instrument for navigating house keys into cantankerous locks.

What is the meaning of „clinch” here? Does it have a sexual innuendo?
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2018 5:56:07 AM

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My first thought was

Clinch v.intr.
1. To be held together securely.
2. Sports To hold a boxing opponent's body with one or both arms to prevent or hinder punches.


However, there is also

Clinch v.intr.
3. Slang To embrace amorously


I have no idea what the writer thought.
justina bandol
Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2018 6:05:21 AM
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DragOn, I thought of the boxing stance too. But why would an index finger be so important in it? That seems more like a job for an arm or something.
Besides, the character is not the boxing type. He is a journalist. He is caught by some thugs at some point and gets his fingers broken without being able to react physically.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2018 6:18:17 AM

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Hmmm.

I know what you mean - but the sexual innuendo seems rather non-sequitur, too.

Possibly a figurative meaning.

He's a writer, and so uses his index finger to guide his pen.
He's a journalist - and maybe gets into battles and fights with his writing . . .

But - who knows? Maybe the author used that phrase so readers could see whatever picture they want to.
thar
Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2018 6:28:47 AM

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I understand it is as being under stress and having to produce something quickly - to a tight deadline if he is a writer, or whatever fits the context. In a/the clinch, under pressure. The opposite of mundane, unpressured.




Sarrriesfan
Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2018 6:32:01 AM

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justina bandol wrote:
DragOn, I thought of the boxing stance too. But why would an index finger be so important in it? That seems more like a job for an arm or something.
Besides, the character is not the boxing type. He is a journalist. He is caught by some thugs at some point and gets his fingers broken without being able to react physically.


To means to interlock things tightly originally, like a nail hammered into wood and bent to prevent it coming out.

When boxers and in the clinch they are tightly locked together like that.

But "in the clinch" is used by some people to mean when you are at an important part of doing something, boxers in a fight when they clinch are often tired bruised and bloodied their actions at that stage of ten fight will determine who wins the fight in the end.

Ben Urich's index finger is essential in doing certain tasks like,picking his nose and finding keys.
justina bandol
Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2018 8:30:25 AM
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Maybe the finger is essential when he writes (a lot) - whatever the clinch might mean, I gather it's probably connected to writing (under pressure, perhaps).

Well, they should register this meaning of clinch in some dictionary.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2018 9:33:14 AM

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I was surprised that the only definition I could find for the phrase was in just one Advanced Usage Dictionary, and not in any normal one.

If two people who love each other are in a clinch, they are holding each other tightly.
[journalism]
They were caught in a clinch when their parents returned home unexpectedly.

Collins COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary

Many of the other dictionaries explain the boxing/fighting meaning of the main word.

I vaguely knew the meaning Sarrriesfan gave:
But "in the clinch" is used by some people to mean when you are at an important part of doing something
I thought of it as 'in a tight spot' - but I can't find that in any dictionary - I guess it is a fairly recent meaning.
justina bandol
Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2018 9:40:05 AM
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It's interesting (though intriguing!) that „in the clinch” is typical to journalists. My character is a journalist.
FounDit
Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2018 9:46:30 AM

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I'm surprised at the responses to this. It's such a familiar phrase to me as I've heard it all my life. It has always meant the same as, "in a pinch", or "in a difficult situation". Similar to "when push comes to shove", his index finger is extremely important in such situations. As this is written, however, the description of his index finger sounds comical because of the mundane actions described.
Sarrriesfan
Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2018 11:51:34 AM

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FounDit wrote:
I'm surprised at the responses to this. It's such a familiar phrase to me as I've heard it all my life. It has always meant the same as, "in a pinch", or "in a difficult situation". Similar to "when push comes to shove", his index finger is extremely important in such situations. As this is written, however, the description of his index finger sounds comical because of the mundane actions described.


Perhaps its more commonly used in America than Britain.

Yes I agree the tasks suggested are mundane and the index finger is comical.
FROSTY X RIME
Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2018 12:39:38 PM

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I found in a dictionary the archaic meaning of "clinch", which is "pun".
It may mean that. Therefore, in the clinch may mean, "if you put it in a funny and humorous way".
CamNewton
Posted: Saturday, December 22, 2018 10:59:52 PM
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Chalk me up as another American who thought this phrase was normal and common.
CamNewton
Posted: Saturday, December 22, 2018 10:59:53 PM
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Chalk me up as another American who thought this phrase was normal and common.
Sarrriesfan
Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2018 1:24:10 AM

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CamNewton wrote:
Chalk me up as another American who thought this phrase was normal and common.


Can you confirm what it means to you as a speaker of American English?
Romany
Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2018 9:16:54 PM
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Put me down with Drago as being a little mystified by this usage of "clinch". (Which, to my Commonwealth ear, sounds like a malapropism!)
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Monday, December 24, 2018 1:50:07 AM

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Aye - as if the speaker meant "in a pinch" but used the wrong idiot . . .Whistle Whistle
Romany
Posted: Monday, December 24, 2018 6:51:48 PM
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Exactly that, my Northern bra.
FounDit
Posted: Monday, December 24, 2018 6:58:09 PM

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Has no one heard of clinch nailing, or clinched nails? To be in a clinch is to be pinned into a tight spot.


Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Tuesday, December 25, 2018 3:17:17 AM

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Well, yeah - probably as often as I've heard 'clinch' used to mean 'to seize the end of a rope to the standing part to form an eye' - and much less often than it's used to mean 'hug'.
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