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See more synonyms for crutch on Thesaurus.com
  1. a staff or support to assist a lame or infirm person in walking, now usually with a crosspiece at one end to fit under the armpit.
  2. any of various devices resembling this in shape or use.
  3. anything that serves as a temporary and often inappropriate support, supplement, or substitute; prop: He uses liquor as a psychological crutch.
  4. a forked support or part.
  5. the crotch of the human body.
  6. Also crotch. Nautical.
    1. a forked support for a boom or spar when not in use.
    2. a forked support for an oar on the sides or stern of a rowboat.
    3. a horizontal knee reinforcing the stern frames of a wooden vessel.
  7. a forked device on the left side of a sidesaddle, consisting of two hooks, one of which is open at the bottom and serves to clamp the left knee and the other of which is open at the top and serves to support the right knee.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to support on crutches; prop; sustain.
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Origin of crutch

before 900; Middle English crucche, Old English cryce (oblique crycce); cognate with Norwegian krykkja, Danish krykke, German Krücke, Dutch kruk. See crook1
Related formscrutch·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for crutch

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • But just as the former is not necessarily a crutch, so the latter was not necessarily a cross.

    The Non-Christian Cross

    John Denham Parsons

  • With these words he took an iron poker and fashioned it into a crutch for himself.

  • How he tried all kinds of artifices, as he leaned on his crutch, and all in vain!

    A Hero of Our Time

    M. Y. Lermontov

  • The "knocker-up" lifted his crutch and with the upper end of it he battered at the dog's brains.

    The Christian

    Hall Caine

  • The publican, who carried a stick, was drunk, and the "knocker-up" was staggering on a crutch.

    The Christian

    Hall Caine

British Dictionary definitions for crutch


  1. a long staff of wood or metal having a rest for the armpit, for supporting the weight of the body
  2. something that supports or sustainsa crutch to the economy
  3. British another word for crotch (def. 1)
  4. nautical
    1. a forked support for a boom or oar, etc
    2. a brace for reinforcing the frames at the stern of a wooden vessel
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  1. (tr) to support or sustain (a person or thing) as with a crutch
  2. Australian and NZ slang to clip (wool) from the hindquarters of a sheep
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Word Origin

Old English crycc; related to Old High German krucka, Old Norse krykkja; see crosier, crook
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 crutch


Old English crycce "crutch, staff," from Proto-Germanic *krukjo (cf. Old Saxon krukka, Middle Dutch crucke, Old High German krucka, German Kröcke "crutch," related to Old Norse krokr "hook;" see crook). Figurative sense is first recorded c.1600. As a verb, from 1640s. Italian gruccia "crutch," crocco "hook" are Germanic loan-words.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

crutch in Medicine


  1. A staff or support used by a physically injured or disabled individual as an aid in walking, usually designed to fit under the armpit and often used in pairs.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.