clutch

verb
\ ˈkləch How to pronounce clutch (audio) \
clutched; clutching; clutches

Essential Meaning of clutch

1 : to hold onto (someone or something) tightly with your hand I had to clutch the counter to keep from falling. The child clutched her mother's hand firmly. He had a book clutched in his hand.
2 : to try to hold onto someone or something by reaching with your hand

Full Definition of clutch

 (Entry 1 of 4)

transitive verb

1 : to grasp or hold with or as if with the hand or claws usually strongly, tightly, or suddenly He clutched his chest and appeared to be in pain.
2 obsolete : clench

intransitive verb

1 : to seek to grasp and hold clutched at her hand
2 : to operate an automobile clutch (see clutch entry 2 sense 2a)

clutch

noun (1)

Definition of clutch (Entry 2 of 4)

1a : the claws or a hand in the act of grasping or seizing firmly a rabbit in the clutch of a hawk
b : an often cruel or unrelenting control, power, or possession the fell clutch of circumstance— W. E. Henley
c : the act of grasping, holding, or restraining
2a : a coupling used to connect and disconnect a driving and a driven part (such as an engine and a transmission) of a mechanism
b : a lever (such as a pedal) operating such a clutch Depress the clutch to change gears.
3 : a tight or critical situation : pinch come through in the clutch

clutch

adjective

Definition of clutch (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : made or done in a crucial situation a clutch hit
2 : successful in a crucial situation a clutch pitcher a clutch hitter

clutch

noun (2)

Definition of clutch (Entry 4 of 4)

1 : a nest of eggs or a brood of chicks
2 : group, bunch talking with a clutch of her friends a clutch of photographs a clutch of reporters

Choose the Right Synonym for clutch

Verb

take, seize, grasp, clutch, snatch, grab mean to get hold of by or as if by catching up with the hand. take is a general term applicable to any manner of getting something into one's possession or control. take some salad from the bowl seize implies a sudden and forcible movement in getting hold of something tangible or an apprehending of something fleeting or elusive when intangible. seized the suspect grasp stresses a laying hold so as to have firmly in possession. grasp the handle and pull clutch suggests avidity or anxiety in seizing or grasping and may imply less success in holding. clutching her purse snatch suggests more suddenness or quickness but less force than seize. snatched a doughnut and ran grab implies more roughness or rudeness than snatch. grabbed roughly by the arm

Examples of clutch in a Sentence

Verb I had to clutch the counter to keep from falling. The child clutched her mother's hand firmly. He had a book clutched in his hand. Adjective She scored a clutch basket.
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First Known Use of clutch

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun (1)

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

1929, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

1721, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for clutch

Verb and Noun (1)

Middle English clucchen, from Old English clyccan

Noun (2)

alteration of dialect English cletch hatching, brood

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Time Traveler for clutch

Time Traveler

The first known use of clutch was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near clutch

cluster wheat

clutch

clutch bag

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Statistics for clutch

Cite this Entry

“Clutch.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/clutch. Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for clutch

clutch

verb
\ ˈkləch How to pronounce clutch (audio) \
clutched; clutching

Kids Definition of clutch

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : to grasp or hold tightly with or as if with the hands or claws
2 : to make a grab He began clutching at the falling child.

clutch

noun

Kids Definition of clutch (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : control or power someone has over someone else usually used in pl. "… he has our compatriots in his clutches."— Lemony Snicket, The Ersatz Elevator
2 : a coupling for connecting and disconnecting a driving and a driven part in machinery
3 : a lever or pedal operating a clutch

clutch

noun

Kids Definition of clutch (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : a group of eggs that is laid by a bird at one time
2 : a small group of things or people

More from Merriam-Webster on clutch

Nglish: Translation of clutch for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of clutch for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about clutch

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