\ ˈkrəch How to pronounce crutch (audio) \

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 Even autopilot, in the traditional sense, still has a major crutch: the pilot. Gregory Barber, Wired, "This Plane Flies Itself. We Went for a Ride," 20 Aug. 2020 Bates was injured while playing football at the age of 11 and subsequently developed complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), which has left him walking with the use of a crutch and leaves him in constant pain. Sara Spary, CNN, "Wheelchair basketball player considers leg amputation after rule change," 30 July 2020 Sometimes there would be an artistic element at the front — a branch, a snake — that served as a stabilizing crutch. John Kelly, Washington Post, "How did Clark Mills finesse Jackson’s horse? The answer hangs in the balance.," 11 July 2020 Horsepower was in abundant supply, but the quick cars were rarely so heady that drivers needed the crutch of all-wheel drive or an automatic transmission to wrangle their full potential. Eric Tingwall, Car and Driver, "The Greatest Cars of All Time: The Greatest Generation," 3 July 2020 The loss of his father in the line of duty looms over everything, and Judd Apatow and Davidson are unafraid to depict what an emotional crutch that history has become for Scott, who uses it as an excuse for his irresponsibility. David Sims, The Atlantic, "The King of Staten Island," 13 June 2020 Now in hindsight, all that training felt like a crutch. Marcus Jones,, "From Malcolm X to Da 5 Bloods, Delroy Lindo and Spike Lee have come full-circle," 12 June 2020 Stick to sports was always a crutch for the comfortable and cowardly. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Opinion: As America burns amid protests after George Floyd's death, it's time to quit telling athletes to 'stick to sports'," 1 June 2020 One caveat: Don’t let screens become a crutch for managing stress and supplanting activities. oregonlive, "Children’s daily screen time skyrockets under coronavirus lockdown, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing," 28 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb At 2:45, Maddow crutched in silently, stood with her back to her staff and observed the list, drawing a thick black line next to topics that interested her. Amanda Hess, New York Times, "This Is the Moment Rachel Maddow Has Been Waiting For," 1 Oct. 2019 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about crutch

Time Traveler for crutch

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for crutch

Last Updated

27 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Crutch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for crutch


How to pronounce crutch (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of crutch

: a long stick with a padded piece at the top that fits under a person's arm
usually disapproving : something that a person uses too much for help or support


\ ˈkrəch How to pronounce crutch (audio) \

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 How to pronounce crutch (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on crutch

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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