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lurch1

[lurch]
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noun
  1. an act or instance of swaying abruptly.
  2. a sudden tip or roll to one side, as of a ship or a staggering person.
  3. an awkward, swaying or staggering motion or gait.
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verb (used without object)
  1. (of a ship) to roll or pitch suddenly.
  2. to make a lurch; move with lurches; stagger: The wounded man lurched across the room.
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Origin of lurch1

First recorded in 1760–70; origin uncertain
Related formslurch·ing·ly, adverb

Synonyms

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5. lunge, reel, totter.

lurch3

[lurch]
verb (used with object)
  1. Archaic. to do out of; defraud; cheat.
  2. Obsolete. to acquire through underhanded means; steal; filch.
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verb (used without object)
  1. British Dialect. to lurk near a place; prowl.
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noun
  1. Archaic. the act of lurking or state of watchfulness.
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Origin of lurch3

1375–1425; late Middle English lorchen, apparently variant of lurken to lurk
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for lurching

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He came at last, lurching in his walk, being overstiff from his long ride.

    St. Martin's Summer

    Rafael Sabatini

  • Nichols rose, lurching to his full height, and looked in my direction.

    Romance

    Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer

  • He was running like a spent man, tottering and lurching from side to side.

    O Pioneers!

    Willa Cather

  • Lurching heavily forward she would have fallen had he not caught her.

    The Mask

    Arthur Hornblow

  • The tragic beauty of his face and the pitiable, sluing, lurching stride!

    The Pagan Madonna

    Harold MacGrath


British Dictionary definitions for lurching

lurch1

verb (intr)
  1. to lean or pitch suddenly to one side
  2. to stagger or sway
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noun
  1. the act or an instance of lurching
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Derived Formslurching, adjective

Word Origin

C19: origin unknown

lurch2

noun
  1. leave someone in the lurch to desert someone in trouble
  2. 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)
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Word Origin

C16: from French lourche a game similar to backgammon, apparently from lourche (adj) deceived, probably of Germanic origin

lurch3

verb
  1. (intr) archaic, or dialect to prowl or steal about suspiciously
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Word Origin

C15: perhaps a variant of lurk
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for lurching

lurch

n.1

"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]
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lurch

n.2

"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."

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lurch

v.

1821, from lurch (n.1). Related: Lurched; lurching.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with lurching

lurch

see leave in the lurch.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.