Main definitions of clutch in English

: clutch1clutch2

clutch1

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • Grasp (something) tightly:

    ‘he stood clutching a microphone’
    figurative ‘Mrs Longhill clutched at the idea’
    • ‘Standing in the witness box, she clutched her handbag to her body to stop her hands from shaking as she gave her evidence.’
    • ‘Shadows out of the past clutch at my legs and drag me down.’
    • ‘As he clutched his chest and fell to the ground in pain, he realized the horror of his mistake.’
    • ‘One should neither look forward to coming experiences, nor clutch at present ones, but let them all slip easily through one's fingers.’
    • ‘News photos showed one of the men clutching a grenade; relatives insist it was a mobile phone.’
    • ‘She yelled back, tightly clutching the seatbelt running diagonally down her chest.’
    • ‘The crying woman was clutching her cellphone and at first I thought she must be laughing.’
    • ‘It is rather painful however to watch her clutch at the chance for stardom with a diligence and a desperation that the film does not warrant.’
    • ‘Too scared to speak, she drove, her eyes alternately on the road ahead and the hand clutching the gun.’
    • ‘An hour later they realised he had returned and was now clutching a knife to his chest.’
    • ‘When he is informed that a young woman has arrived at his back door clutching a baby, near panic prevails.’
    • ‘His wife, a petite blonde, stands beside him clutching a glass of wine and smiling stiffly.’
    • ‘She was wearing tatty clothes and her grubby hands clutched dozens of plastic bags.’
    • ‘As we stood there awkwardly, clutching our bags, Aunt Rachel gazed at us thoughtfully.’
    • ‘Taking a step back, he felt a cold fear clutch at his chest as he forced himself to breathe.’
    • ‘Fortunately for me, I surface somehow clutching the rope on the side of the upturned raft.’
    • ‘After a short drive around the camp they found a man lying in the bush clutching his leg.’
    • ‘She froze, one hand gripping the doorknob and the other clutching the shawl tightly to her chest.’
    • ‘As it happens, the person at the door was a small man clutching a note book.’
    • ‘He sits by the fire at a local hotel clutching the caffeine in one hand and the nicotine in the other.’
    • ‘The intruder then searched her bedroom and came down stairs clutching her handbag.’
    reach for, snatch at, make a grab for, catch at, claw at
    grab, seize, lay hands on, lay one's hands on, get one's hands on, grab hold of, seize hold of, take hold of
    grip, grasp, clasp, cling to, hang on to, clench, hold
    View synonyms

noun

  • 1A tight grasp:

    ‘she made a clutch at his body’
    • ‘A shock of pain went from the impact of his clutch on my arms all the way down through my spine.’
    • ‘She squirmed within his grasp, trying to free herself from his clutch, but it was no use.’
    • ‘When I extricated myself from her clutches and got back to my seat, she turned to the woman beside me and said, ‘He must really love you.’’
    • ‘But as spirits, they could find no clutch on the physical world.’
    • ‘She attempted to tear out of his grasp once again until she felt his hand tighten in a bone shattering clutch over her wrist.’
    • ‘His cheeks burning red in response to his anger and hurt, his hold on his blankets turned to a clutch, his knuckles turning white from the strain.’
    • ‘He met it with a long looping header which went way beyond the desperate clutches of his opponent and into the far corner of the net.’
    • ‘I sighed, as I felt his clutch on my arm getting tighter.’
    • ‘I harshly removed my arm from his clutch and yelled, ‘Why are you taking me out here?’’
    • ‘In one desperate clutch at a straw, the company announced that it would start trading in weather!’
    • ‘She dropped her sword because his clutch was so tight, she nearly passed out.’
    • ‘He backed over to the phone, still warm from her clutch.’
    • ‘In the process, the notorious Captain's rapier fell from his clutches to catch a safe fall.’
    • ‘You quickly tighten the clutch, as tight as you dare, then hang on!’
    • ‘A great weight released its clutch on our hearts when we discovered that we wouldn't have to do this the entire time.’
    • ‘Extracting himself from his friend's protective clutch, Jack stepped closer to his betrothed and her father.’
    1. 1.1someone's clutches A person's power or control, especially when regarded as inescapable:
      ‘Tom had fallen into Amanda's clutches’
      • ‘She moves out, leaving him in the clutches of the two strangers.’
      • ‘A demon child is rescued during infancy from the evil clutches of the Nazis.’
      • ‘The office-bearers have also promised to sustain the movement till the country is freed from the clutches of corruption.’
      • ‘And to force them away from evil clutches would mean fighting the Darkness face to face.’
      • ‘No school and I was totally free from the clutches of evil Physics and Chemistry professors.’
      • ‘Even though most males caught in her clutches never saw themselves as poor victims.’
      • ‘Can they escape the clutches of the next century's power mad phone company?’
      • ‘But I didn't want to fall into the clutches of the local moneylenders.’
      • ‘The cold clutches of reality gripped her stomach with a death hold as she realized… It was all real.’
      • ‘Fear gripped her in icy clutches despite the heat, and then, strangely, it ran down her skin in cold waves like snowmelt down a majestic mountain.’
      • ‘Smokers are not creatures of habit, smokers are people caught in the clutches of addiction.’
      power, control, domination, command, mastery, rule, tyranny
      hands, hold, grip, grasp, claws, jaws, evil embrace
      custody, possession, keeping
      View synonyms
  • 2A mechanism for connecting and disconnecting an engine and the transmission system in a vehicle, or the working parts of any machine:

    ‘she let the clutch in and the car surged forward’
    • ‘When the driver makes the gearshift, the first clutch is released and the second engages, so that the gear shift takes place in a fraction of a second.’
    • ‘While the first clutch is transmitting the power, the second clutch is ready to engage the next gear, which is pre-selected.’
    • ‘We were just attempting to start the car when the clutch jumped.’
    • ‘Once the car is in motion, the clutch is operated electronically by the complicated gearbox software.’
    • ‘The first display showed the insides of a four-stroke engine, clutch assembly, gearbox, propeller shaft and differential gear box.’
    • ‘The clutch and gearbox are smooth, the seat seems comfy, the wind protection is very good.’
    • ‘Our spiral retaining rings are used for clutches, transmissions and many other automotive components.’
    • ‘Two electronically controlled clutches deliver torque to the front wheels individually.’
    • ‘The clutch between the engine and traction motor is engaged, and electric motor used for bursts of acceleration.’
    • ‘The gear sets and electric motors are separated by two electronic clutches.’
    • ‘Petrol and diesel versions are offered and there is the option of a very slick electronic clutch which gives stress-free gear changing in traffic.’
    • ‘Central to the system is a multiplate clutch which controls the power delivery to the front wheels.’
    • ‘At the end of the session the technicians inspected the car and found that the real problem was the clutch and not the gearbox.’
    • ‘Positioned between the engine and gearbox and using a dual clutch system, this works as both current generator and flywheel.’
    • ‘All the hydraulic fuel began to drain out and it was not long until the clutch ceased to function properly.’
    • ‘Conventional automatic transmission systems do not have a clutch between the engine and the gearbox.’
    • ‘The fully automatic system requires no input from the driver and uses a computer controlled clutch that engages the rear wheels as needed.’
    • ‘As you feed your bike extra gas, making the engine race, re-engaging the clutch makes your machine shoot forward.’
    • ‘The dual-plate mechanical clutch has a pneumatic booster and three-range five-speed gearbox.’
    1. 2.1 The pedal operating the clutch in a vehicle.
      • ‘I was coasting up to a roundabout, foot on the clutch and with second gear already selected.’
      • ‘He savagely gunned the engine and popped the clutch.’
      • ‘So I depress the very heavy clutch, apply much effort to the he-man gearshift and off we rumble.’
      • ‘With a grin, he stepped down on the clutch and turned the key.’
      • ‘A police report showed he could not have been unconscious at the time of the accident because investigations showed he had his foot on the brake and the clutch at the time of the crash.’
      • ‘Kate pushed in the clutch and turned the key in the ignition.’
      • ‘Depress the clutch, change gear into neutral again, and apply brakes.’
      • ‘Ian shifted the gear lever into reverse, his left foot trembling, ready to release the clutch at the first opportunity.’
      • ‘I stepped on the clutch hard and fast, thinking Merlin might drive right over me.’
      • ‘Now move your feet on the clutch and brake, at the same time use the gear stick at your side.’
      • ‘‘A lot of people use the clutch and the brake pedal in the wrong order,’ said Smyth.’
      • ‘I had a go on his bike and controlling the two brakes and clutch at the same time is quite a feat.’
      • ‘I slowly pushed the gas pedal downward and lifted my left foot off the clutch.’
      • ‘In manual mode, drivers can go up or down gears without depressing the clutch.’
      • ‘There's not much space around the pedals which means if you have large feet like me, clutch and brake operation can be awkward.’
  • 3North American A clutch bag.

    • ‘I tossed my cell and some lip gloss into a black beaded clutch and rushed out the door to get to his house on time.’
    • ‘Put the accent on femininity with this classy suede-and-lace clutch.’
    • ‘She walked into her closet picked out a red leather mini clutch and her favorite pair of red two and half inch heels and walked out of her room.’
    • ‘On her feet were a simple pair of black slides with a 4-inch heel and a sleek black clutch was in her hand.’
    • ‘When she returned, she carried a tiny satin clutch and was smiling brightly.’
    • ‘This vintage-inspired clutch adds a pop of color and excitement to any look.’
    • ‘She smiled once more at the reflection her mirror presented, grabbed her red velvet clutch, and left the room.’
    • ‘On her feet were strappy black stilettos, and she was holding onto a matching silver clutch, with a black square clasp.’
    • ‘I can totally picture someone wearing a dress for a nice night out holding this clutch.’
    • ‘She popped the clasp on her clutch and plucked out her mobile phone.’
    • ‘She grabbed her jacket and black clutch as she went to open the door.’
    • ‘He slipped his arm though hers and they left, the feathers on her tiny black clutch ruffling as they walked.’
    • ‘Your evening bag should also add just the right amount of oomph like a ruffled satin wristlet or an eggplant clutch with a big silky flower.’
    • ‘If you're wearing a plain outfit, choose a bag that will add interest: get a sparkly/beaded/colourful clutch.’
    • ‘She checked herself once more in the mirror and freshened her lip gloss before tucking the bottle into her clutch and snapping it shut.’
    • ‘And of course with the dress, she had to get a pair of black strappy heels and a cute black clutch.’
    • ‘Slouchy or hobo handbags remain strong for day, while the clutch reappears for night.’

adjective

US
informal
  • 1(in sport) denoting or occurring at a critical situation in which the outcome of a game or competition is at stake:

    ‘they both are hard-nosed players who seem to thrive in clutch situations’
    • ‘The controls are very responsive, and there is no need to worry about a move not going through at a clutch moment.’
    • ‘His play in the clutch moments of the final three games against the Wild was nowhere near good enough.’
    • ‘He likes being in clutch situations, always the mark of a great player.’
    • ‘Both are making better decisions in clutch situations.’
    • ‘Neither starter was dominating against the opposing batters, but both managed to keep the game close with some fine defensive help and key outs in clutch moments.’
    • ‘Instead, he's trying to go through two or three defenders during clutch times.’
    • ‘"I love having to close the match and throw the ball in clutch situations," said Smith, who was forced to finish first by Couch.’
    • ‘He's pitched some amazingly clutch games in his career and he's as good a bet as the Yanks have going for them right now.’
    1. 1.1 (of a player or action) achieving or characterized by success at a critical moment in a game or competition:
      ‘a clutch quarterback’
      ‘clutch performances’
      • ‘His buzzer-beating, game-winning jumper in Detroit was his latest example of clutch play.’
      • ‘There's an instinctive recognition on the part of sport fan of who is a "clutch" player and who is a "choker", who the Football (or Baseball, Basketball, etc.) gods smile on and who is forever cursed.’
      • ‘His defense is top tier and he is hitting .286 for the last two weeks with numerous timely clutch hits.’
      • ‘Barry makes too many clutch plays to be on the bench late in games.’
      • ‘He's obviously not a "clutch" pitcher.’
      • ‘He's a clutch hitter who makes everyone around him better.’
      • ‘Still, I'd take San Pedro's second finest over any but two of today's "clutch" guards.’
      • ‘QB Tom Brady is as clutch a quarterback as there is.’
      • ‘So, we have Michael's Greatest Moves, Michael's Greatest Clutch Shots, Michael's Greatest Assists, and of course Michael's Greatest Dunks.’
      • ‘With a series of gutsy chips and clutch putts, Guan notched four birdies and carded a 1-over-par 73.’
      • ‘When the clock winds down and the Nets need a clutch shot, they will turn to their point guard.’
      • ‘The Cleveland Indians are headed back to the American League Championship Series thanks to some clutch pitching from an unlikely ace.’
      • ‘He has defined the word "clutch" for the Steelers, with three turnovers in his last 143 throws.’
      • ‘There's little statistical evidence that "clutch" players exist - that some guys hit disproportionately well in important situations.’
      • ‘For all the Moneyball talk, it's hard to dismiss nine straight losses in clinching games, especially when there's a huge dismissal of "clutch" hitting by Beane and friends.’
      • ‘Espo - he was so clutch for us that whole series.’
      • ‘Earlier in his season Valbuena had some clutch hits in key situations.’
      • ‘The New England Patriots quarterback is, as his Denver Broncos counterpart Jake Plummer puts it, "very clutch".’
      • ‘Gordon has been the Bulls' clutch man off the bench, a 42.7 percent 3-point shooter who already is known for his fourth quarter heroics.’

Phrases

  • clutch at straws

  • in the clutch

    • informal At a critical moment:

      ‘why are some athletes able to perform in the clutch while others choke?’
      • ‘It's not that robots don't bleed, but more that they don't play hurt, or brawl, or choke in the clutch.’
      • ‘I put myself in position a lot and while I haven't come through in the clutch, there have been a lot of positives.’
      • ‘Hunte also spoke highly of his two veteran players, Vernon Lewis and Kane Easter, who both came through in the clutch.’
      • ‘Bryan came through in the clutch when it was needed.’
      • ‘Thank you for coming through in the clutch.’
      • ‘The underdog players will undoubtedly come through in the clutch, and David will fire his slingshot rock square into the forehead of the mighty giant.’
      • ‘I insisted that Barrett belonged on the All-Star team, citing his batting average 'in the clutch' and stellar fielding percentage.’
      • ‘His failings have become clear: not too smart, not too experienced, unimpressive in the clutch.’
      • ‘I don't understand how to buy things; I always choke in the clutch.’
      • ‘But the arrogance that enables him to be such a reliable shooter in the clutch prevents him from countenancing the fact that he's a defensive liability.’

Origin

Middle English (in the sense ‘bend, crook’): variant of obsolete clitch ‘close the hand’, from Old English clyccan ‘crook, clench’, of Germanic origin.

Pronunciation

clutch

/klʌtʃ/

Main definitions of clutch in English

: clutch1clutch2

clutch2

noun

  • 1A group of eggs fertilized at the same time, laid in a single session and (in birds) incubated together:

    ‘they lay fewer than ten eggs in a clutch’
    • ‘He attributed increased mortality to inefficient incubation of enlarged clutches, which resulted in more dead embryos.’
    • ‘Each intrusion was performed when the male was incubating the clutch and his mate was absent.’
    • ‘Seven females produced a replacement clutch soon after the eggs from their first clutches disappeared.’
    • ‘Females lay a single clutch per season, usually of three eggs, in a naturally occurring tree hollow.’
    • ‘All males had a similar-sized nest, but egg clutch size in the nests differed.’
    • ‘In fact, in five out of the seven cases the replacement clutch was laid in a different territory.’
    • ‘We collected clutches, incubated the eggs, and took blood samples from hatching young.’
    • ‘Eggs are laid one a day and there is often a second clutch.’
    • ‘The female incubates the clutch of eggs, which can vary from 4 to 6, but usually consists of 5 eggs.’
    • ‘It would therefore take a single female 40-50 days to lay the maximum clutch that could be incubated.’
    • ‘During the three-month breeding season, a female can lay several hundred eggs in a number of separate clutches.’
    • ‘Many other fish species build nests and fertilize large clutches of eggs externally.’
    • ‘Clutches of eggs from individual females were collected, and each clutch was split in half.’
    • ‘The females lay small clutches of large eggs.’
    • ‘Once the male has fertilized a clutch of eggs, he carries them in his mouth for one to two weeks, until they hatch.’
    • ‘It takes three to four days for all of the eggs in the clutch to hatch.’
    • ‘These females were still observed feeding the fledglings while at the same time incubating their second clutch.’
    • ‘It is not uncommon for the female to be incubating the second clutch while the male is still tending the first.’
    • ‘Males in two species are known to guard egg clutches and carry hatchlings on their backs.’
    • ‘The female incubates her large clutch, and both parents tend the hatchlings.’
    group, batch, nestful
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A brood of chicks:
      ‘the number of chicks in a clutch varies according to the availability of food and the danger of predators’
      • ‘In recent years the school has been able to sponsor goats, rabbits and clutches of chickens for needy families in African countries.’
      • ‘Does the number of surviving offspring in a clutch vary predictably as a function of a parent's success in obtaining mates?’
      • ‘More than one clutch per season is often produced.’
      • ‘The proceeds amounted to 115 which bought a clutch of chicks, a goat and a Family Survival Kit.’
      • ‘It looks as it has been a good year so far for the wild duck as a few clutches of young Mallard have been noticed on the river.’
      • ‘Often the breeding pair reproduces again the same year, therefore producing a second clutch.’
      • ‘Almost 10,000 clutches of chicks were purchased for families in Central America.’
      • ‘Later, three juveniles from this clutch were banded and genetically sampled.’
      • ‘You can have a clutch of chicks, a clutter of cats, and a sleuth of bears, if anyone was wondering.’
      • ‘For example, a donation buys a clutch of chicks for a family in Central America, which will give that family an ongoing supply of eggs, meat and additional income.’
      • ‘Compared with the Scandinavian birds, North American hawk owls turn out to be a bit larger, to have fewer young per clutch, and to be less specialized.’
      • ‘Some pairs raise two clutches in a single season.’
    2. 1.2 A small group of people or things:
      ‘a clutch of brightly painted holiday homes’
      • ‘A clutch of business figures pondered which Scottish companies - outside the whisky firms - could be genuinely described as global.’
      • ‘That means fringe players could all be off-loaded in order to make way for a clutch of new faces.’
      • ‘The Scottish team will also feature a clutch of graduates from the Commonwealth Youth Games, which were hosted in Edinburgh two years ago.’
      • ‘But the beaches are superb and have attracted a small clutch of top-class hotels.’
      • ‘While tens of thousands race mountain bikes each year, it is truly a preciously small clutch of people who ensure these events ever come into being at all.’
      • ‘On the next wall, there is a clutch of figurative drawings from the early 1990s, some beautifully conceived and others unwieldy and amateurish.’
      • ‘His unforgettable lead performance has already earned him a clutch of awards, including a Best Actor Oscar nomination.’
      • ‘One of a clutch of forthcoming movies is Prime, about an older woman who falls in love with a much younger man.’
      • ‘Despite having won a clutch of literary prizes and being regarded as an elder statesman of letters, he eschews the label of ‘celebrity’.’
      • ‘If you like jazz, head for the clutch of famous late-night bars - you can blow your mind away until dawn.’
      • ‘This story appeared as one of a rotating clutch of stories under the the exciting group heading ‘Other News’.’
      • ‘A clutch of girls bring her into the shop for bandages and comfort, and the normally slow, deliberative Michael finds himself supplying both.’
      • ‘The students have picked up a clutch of medals at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show.’
      • ‘The company has recruited a clutch of senior managers from car manufacturers.’
      • ‘I was surrounded by a clutch of girls and young men - my sisters and brothers.’
      • ‘In December he makes a welcome return to the venue with a clutch of songs guaranteed to put smiles on faces.’
      • ‘Today, thanks to the professional services offered by a clutch of landscape artists, gardening has assumed an altogether different dimension.’
      • ‘Both short films won a clutch of awards at international festival level.’
      • ‘The staff remain fiercely proud of their product, which has won a clutch of awards.’
      • ‘The champion cyclist had carried off a clutch of medals, awards and commendations, and been named BBC Sports Personality of the Year.’
      group, collection, set, quantity, raft
      View synonyms

Origin

Early 18th century: probably a southern variant of northern English dialect cletch, related to Middle English cleck ‘to hatch’, from Old Norse klekja.

Pronunciation

clutch

/klʌtʃ/