- to seize with or as with the hands or claws; snatch: The bird swooped down and clutched its prey with its claws.
- to grip or hold tightly or firmly: She clutched the child's hand as they crossed the street.
- Slang. to spellbind; grip a person's emotions, attention, or interest: Garbo movies really clutch me.
- to try to seize or grasp (usually followed by at): He clutched at the fleeing child. She clutched at the opportunity.
- Slang. to become tense with fright; panic (sometimes followed by up): I clutched up on the math exam.
- to operate the clutch in a vehicle.
- the hand, claw, etc., when grasping.
- Usually clutches. power of disposal or control; mastery: She fell into the clutches of the enemy.
- the act of clutching; a snatch or grasp.
- a tight grip or hold.
- a device for gripping something.
- Automotive, Machinery.
- a mechanism for readily engaging or disengaging a shaft with or from another shaft or rotating part.Compare coupling(def 2a).
- a control, as a pedal, for operating this mechanism.
- Sports. an extremely important or crucial moment of a game: He was famous for his coolness in pitching in the clutch.
- any critical position or situation; emergency: She kept complete control in the clutch.
- Also called clutch bag, clutch purse. a woman's small purse that can be carried in the hand and usually has no handle or strap.
- done or accomplished in a critical situation: a clutch shot that won the basketball game.
- dependable in crucial situations: a clutch player.
- (of a coat) without fasteners; held closed in front by one's hand or arm.
Origin of clutch1
SynonymsSee more synonyms for clutch on Thesaurus.com
- a hatch of eggs; the number of eggs produced or incubated at one time.
- a brood of chickens.
- a number of similar individuals: a clutch of books; a whole clutch of dancers.
- to hatch (chickens).
Origin of clutch2
Examples from the Web for clutch
Who knew that a competition where you clutch the hand of another man and lock eyes across a table could be this damn gay.High-End Pervs Film Benedict Cumberbatch and Reese Witherspoon Sucking Face
December 11, 2014
The Kentucky freshman sunk his third game-winning three-pointer in a row, launching fresh claims about his ‘clutch gene.’Was Aaron Harrison’s Game-Winning Three-Pointer ‘Clutch’?
April 7, 2014
Plenty of us women were enjoying the same behavior (clutch your pearls); it was fun.Dear Princeton Mom, Stop Telling Me To Husband-Hunt
February 14, 2014
I've always loved when girls carry their wallets as a clutch instead of a bag.Happy 30th Birthday, Alexander Wang!
The Fashion Beast Team
December 26, 2013
She wore black suede Jimmy Choos on her feet and carried a crimson Alexander McQueen clutch bag with a large bow on one side.Kate Chops A Few Inches, Gets New Hair Color And Banishes Gray Roots
November 29, 2013
For the hand he held was shaking like some slender-stalked lily in the clutch of the sirocco.
There was a clutch on her throat just then, which would not relax at the call of her will.
"Brake foot, clutch foot," said Johnny, and closed his eyes again.K
Mary Roberts Rinehart
The most easy to understand is the clutch, a model of which I have on the table.
The old hands stretched out as if to clutch hers--then fell inert.In the Valley
- (tr) to seize with or as if with hands or claws
- (tr) to grasp or hold firmly
- (intr usually foll by at) to attempt to get hold or possession (of)
- a device that enables two revolving shafts to be joined or disconnected as required, esp one that transmits the drive from the engine to the gearbox in a vehicle
- a device for holding fast
- a firm grasp
- a hand, claw, or talon in the act of clutchingin the clutches of a bear
- (often plural) power or controlin the clutches of the Mafia
- Also called: clutch bag a handbag without handles
- a hatch of eggs laid by a particular bird or laid in a single nest
- a brood of chickens
- informal a group, bunch, or cluster
- (tr) to hatch (chickens)
Word Origin and History for clutch
Old English clyccan "bring together, bend (the fingers), clench," from PIE *klukja- (cf. Swedish klyka "clamp, fork;" related to cling). Meaning "to grasp" is early 14c.; that of "to seize with the claws or clutches" is from late 14c. Sense of "hold tightly and close" is from c.1600. Influenced in meaning by Middle English cloke "a claw." Related: Clutched; clutching.
"a brood, a nest" in reference to chickens, eggs, 1721, from clekken "to hatch" (c.1400). Said by OED to be apparently a southern England dialect word. Cf. batch/bake. Probably from a Scandinavian source (e.g. Old Norse klekja "to hatch"), perhaps of imitative origin (cf. cluck (v.)).
"a claw, grip, grasp," c.1300, from cloche "claw," from cloke (c.1200), related to clucchen, clicchen (see clutch (v.)). Meaning "grasping hand" (1520s) led to that of "tight grasp" (1784). Related: Clutches.
movable mechanical part for transmitting motion, 1814, from clutch (v.), with the "seizing" sense extended to "device for bringing working parts together." Originally of mill-works, first used of motor vehicles 1899. Meaning "moment when heroics are required" is attested from 1920s.
Idioms and Phrases with clutch
see grasp (clutch) at straws.