1

clutch

play
verb \ ˈkləch \

Definition of clutch

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 2clutch 2a)

Examples of clutch in a Sentence

  1. I had to clutch the counter to keep from falling.

  2. The child clutched her mother's hand firmly.

  3. He had a book clutched in his hand.

Origin and Etymology of clutch

Middle English clucchen, from Old English clyccan

Synonym Discussion of clutch

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

2

clutch

noun

Definition of clutch

1 a :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
2 a :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

Origin and Etymology of clutch

Other Automotive Terms


3

clutch

adjective

Definition of clutch

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

Examples of clutch in a Sentence

  1. She scored a clutch basket.

First Known Use of clutch

1929


4

clutch

noun

Definition of clutch

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

Origin and Etymology of clutch

alteration of dialect English cletch hatching, brood

Other Birds Terms



CLUTCH Defined for English Language Learners

clutch

play
verb

Definition of clutch for English Language Learners

  • : to hold onto (someone or something) tightly with your hand

  • : to try to hold onto someone or something by reaching with your hand


clutch

adjective

Definition of clutch for English Language Learners

  • : happening during a very important or critical time especially in a sports competition

  • : able to perform well in a very important or critical situation especially in a sports competition


CLUTCH Defined for Kids

1

clutch

play
verb \ ˈkləch \

Definition of clutch for Students

clutched; clutching
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.

2

clutch

noun

Definition of clutch for Students

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

3

clutch

noun

Definition of clutch for Students

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


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up clutch? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

agreeable, attractive, or delicious

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Merriam-Webster's New Words Quiz—Fall 2017 Edition!

  • young-plant-shoots
  • Which of the following is a new sense of the word bunny?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!