To bend the point of a nail after it is driven home. The word
is sometimes written clench, from the French clenche, the
lift of a latch. (German, klinke; Dutch, klinken, to
rivet.) (See page 261, col. 1, Clench)
That was a clincher.
That argument was not to be gainsaid, that remark drove the matter
home, and fixed it “as a nail in a sure place.”
A lie is called a clincher from the tale about two
swaggerers, one of whom said, “I drove a nail right through the moon.”
“Yes,” said the other, “I remember it well, for I went the other side
and clinched it.” The French say, Je lui ai bien rivé son clou
(I have clinched his nail for him).
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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