- 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 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
Related Wordsgrip, snatch, clench, grasp, fasten, clasp, nab, seize, harbor, clinch, keep, nail, hook, grapple, embrace, take, cherish, catch, snag, hold
Examples from the Web for clutching
After walking block after block holding that container, he had suddenly discarded it and was now clutching a gun.Exclusive: Inside a Cop-Killer’s Final Hours
December 31, 2014
He is clutching more out of habit than for any practical reason his black briefcase.Inside East Ukraine’s Make-Believe Republics
May 15, 2014
Later Rain tells me she had never heard of Weeks, the girl who was clutching her like her favorite sorority sister.Duke Porn Star Belle Knox Is Building Her Brand One Strip Club at a Time
May 6, 2014
Five minutes later, Grace bounds down the stationary escalator, clutching a bacon cheeseburger and a Coke.Hallucinating Away a Heroin Addiction
May 4, 2014
The ladies beside me were clutching their iPhones in what appeared to be death grips.Do You Suffer From Smartphone Anxiety? (And if So, What the Hell’s Your Problem?)
April 30, 2014
He climbed down with difficulty, clutching one hand with the other.Way of the Lawless
"I prythee that you will pardon me," said the knight, clutching his way along the bulwark.The White Company
Arthur Conan Doyle
She was back again in the stuffy hotel room, clutching the sheet about her.K
Mary Roberts Rinehart
"Let's git out, mister," cried Old Bill, clutching Mortimer's arm.Thoroughbreds
W. A. Fraser
That clutching pain of grief was real, so real it blotted everything out.The Harbor
- (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 clutching
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 clutching
see grasp (clutch) at straws.