- an act or instance of swaying abruptly.
- a sudden tip or roll to one side, as of a ship or a staggering person.
- an awkward, swaying or staggering motion or gait.
- (of a ship) to roll or pitch suddenly.
- to make a lurch; move with lurches; stagger: The wounded man lurched across the room.
Origin of lurch1
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- a situation at the close of various games in which the loser scores nothing or is far behind the opponent.
- leave in the lurch, to leave in an uncomfortable or desperate situation; desert in time of trouble: Our best salesperson left us in the lurch at the peak of the busy season.
Origin of lurch2
- Archaic. to do out of; defraud; cheat.
- Obsolete. to acquire through underhanded means; steal; filch.
- British Dialect. to lurk near a place; prowl.
- Archaic. the act of lurking or state of watchfulness.
Origin of lurch3
Examples from the Web for lurches
The lurches in time and devastating conclusion make it linger unsettlingly in the mind.The 10 Best Books on Literary Drunkenness
December 28, 2013
While Libya lurches forward to its landmark parliamentary election, its children face a brutal conflict on the playground.Kids of War: Libyan Children Fight a New Battle at School
June 30, 2012
She thumps and lurches, and they stagger together, feeling sick.Within the Tides
In one of its lurches the moon flooded the place with light.The Pirate of Panama
William MacLeod Raine
The stage reached the bottom of the wash in a succession of lurches.Oh, You Tex!
William Macleod Raine
How the ship rolls and lurches the moment that one rises from the leather couch!Ship-Bored
And yet he went as one in a dream, with the lurches of a drunken man.Captain Ravenshaw
Robert Neilson Stephens
- to lean or pitch suddenly to one side
- to stagger or sway
- the act or an instance of lurching
- leave someone in the lurch to desert someone in trouble
- cribbage the state of a losing player with less than 30 points at the end of a game (esp in the phrase in the lurch)
- (intr) archaic, or dialect to prowl or steal about suspiciously
Word Origin and History for lurches
"sudden pitch to one side," 1784, from earlier lee-larches (1765), a nautical term for "the sudden roll which a ship makes to lee-ward in a high sea, when a large wave strikes her, and bears her weather-side violently up, which depresses the other in proportion" ["Complete Dictionary of Arts and Sciences," London 1765]; perhaps from French lacher "to let go," from Latin laxus (see lax).
When a Ship is brought by the Lee, it is commonly occaſsioned by a large Sea, and by the Neglect of the Helm's-man. When the Wind is two or three Points on the Quarter, the Ship taking a Lurch, brings the Wind on the other Side, and lays the Sails all dead to the Maſt; as the Yards are braced up, ſhe then having no Way, and the Helm being of no Service, I would therefore brace about the Head ſails ſharp the other Way .... [John Hamilton Moore, Practical Navigator, 8th ed., 1784]
"predicament," 1580s, from Middle English lurch (v.) "to beat in a game of skill (often by a great many points)," mid-14c., probably literally "to make a complete victory in lorche," a game akin to backgammon, from Old French lourche. The game name is perhaps related to Middle English lurken, lorken "to lie hidden, lie in ambush," or it may be adopted into French from Middle High German lurz "left," also "wrong."
1821, from lurch (n.1). Related: Lurched; lurching.
Idioms and Phrases with lurches
see leave in the lurch.