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Clench

and Clinch. To clench is to grasp firmly, as, “He clenched my arm firmly,” “He clenched his nerves bravely to endure the pain.” (Anglo-Saxon, be-clencan, to hold fast.)

To clinch is to make fast, to turn the point of a nail in order to make it fast. Hence, to clinch an argument. (Dutch, klinken, to rivet. Whence “clinker-built,” said of a ship whose planks overlap each other, and are riveted together.)

I gave him a clencher
(should be “clincher”). I nailed him fast.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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