\ˈkrəch \

Definition of crutch 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a support typically fitting under the armpit for use by the disabled in walking

b : a source or means of support or assistance that is relied on heavily or excessively They refuse to take any pills. They don't want to use drugs as a crutch.— Maya Pines Even many atheists would agree that believing that God cares about you or that your life is part of a cosmic plan can be a powerful source of hope (or, to put it pejoratively, a crutch).— Virginia Postrel

2 : a forked leg rest constituting the pommel of a sidesaddle

3 : the crotch of a human being or an animal

4 : a forked support


crutched; crutching; crutches

Definition of crutch (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to support on crutches : prop up

Examples of crutch in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But unlike other models who might use technicolor hair as a crutch, Ahn does not. Monica Kim, Vogue, "24 Hours With Ahreum Ahn, the First It Girl From Seoul," 15 June 2018 Goodman often used his arthritis in his knees as a crutch to skip workouts but Shilstone introduced him to a variety of low-impact exercises. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "People Have A Lot to Say About John Goodman's Weight Loss," 29 Mar. 2018 One woman is seen using crutches, while another posed in her wheelchair. Jessica Fecteau,, "Aerie's New Lingerie Campaign Includes Women with Disabilities and Chronic Illnesses," 12 July 2018 But screens have now become a crutch for technologists, a lazy, catchall way to add digital experiences to every product. Farhad Manjoo, New York Times, "We Have Reached Peak Screen. Now Revolution Is in the Air.," 27 June 2018 Such safety equipment could be a crutch that dulls drivers’ skills and makes them overly reliant on technology. Robert Duffer,, "Graduating to your own car? Safety features are key," 8 June 2018 In the meantime, the offensive-minded Lopez has become a crutch for a pitching staff that expected to lean on the 25-year-old Hedges’ elite array of skills behind the plate. Jeff Sanders,, "With Padres, Raffy Lopez continuing to catch on," 30 May 2018 But in movies and shows, hair streaks have become a crutch for higher-ups who can't otherwise develop complex Asian characters. Deanna Pai, Glamour, "It's Time to Retire the 'Hairstreak Asian' Trope," 24 May 2018 While these new movies aren’t all destined to feature flat protagonists and weak premises, Deadpool 2 is the latest evidence of how the adult label so embraced by Liefeld can easily become a storytelling crutch. David Sims, The Atlantic, "The Dour Resurgence of Cable, Deadpool 2’s Anti-Hero," 23 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Thorson, now a grad student holding an undergraduate degree in communication studies, remains the relentlessly positive team-first guy who insisted on crutching to the NU sideline to watch the second half of the Music City Bowl. Teddy Greenstein,, "First words: Northwestern QB Clayton Thorson talks ACL prognosis, marriage and why he ‘can’t skip steps’," 2 July 2018 Scalise still needs either crutches or a cane to get around after having nine surgeries to repair his pelvis, hip and left femur left shattered by bullets, CNN reported. Natalie Dreier, ajc, "Rep. Steve Scalise to return to field one year after Congressional Baseball shooting," 14 June 2018 When Purdue played Nebraska about a month later, Tyler Trent crutched out to midfield for the coin toss. Gregg Doyel, Indianapolis Star, "Doyel: Purdue freshman can't make tourney, but cancer is just an inconvenience," 15 Mar. 2018 He was recorded crutching down a hallway at Arrowhead Stadium Sunday. Jacob Klinger,, "Steelers short 3 offensive, 2 defensive starters," 18 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'crutch.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of crutch


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


1609, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for crutch


Middle English crucche, from Old English crycc; akin to Old High German krucka crutch

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Dictionary Entries near crutch

crust roan





crutch strike


Phrases Related to crutch

on crutches

Statistics for crutch

Last Updated

21 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for crutch

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

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More Definitions for crutch



English Language Learners Definition of crutch

: a long stick with a padded piece at the top that fits under a person's arm

: something that a person uses too much for help or support


\ˈkrəch \

Kids Definition of crutch

1 : a long stick usually made with a piece at the top to fit under the armpit that is used as an aid in walking

2 : something that a person depends on to help deal with problems The child uses his blanket as a crutch to feel more secure.


\ˈkrəch \

Medical Definition of crutch 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a support typically fitting under the armpit for use as an aid in walking

2 : the crotch especially of an animal

Medical Definition of crutch (Entry 2 of 2)

: to support on crutches

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Comments on crutch

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a state of commotion or excitement

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