Commonly Confused Word Pairs: Cinch/clinch

June 21, 2007: Issue 193

To cinch is to fasten tightly:
Pull the shoulder strap through the loop to cinch the bag shut.

To clinch is to settle or to make final:
They were already considering a move to a bigger home. News that a third child was on the way clinched their decision.

If you have trouble remembering this one, think of Chris Farley, Adam Sandler, and David Spade as Gap clerks dispensing repetitive fashion advice on Saturday Night Live in the ’90s. (“Did you cinch it? You have to cinch it!”) Check them out. (We’re going to rate this clip TVPG. And let us know if you spot the typos on the “Gapardy” board.)

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