Main definitions of clutch in English

: clutch1clutch2

clutch1

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Grasp or seize (something) tightly or eagerly.

    ‘he stood clutching a microphone’
    no object figurative ‘Mrs. Longhill clutched at the idea’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘After a short drive around the camp they found a man lying in the bush clutching his leg.’
    • ‘When he is informed that a young woman has arrived at his back door clutching a baby, near panic prevails.’
    • ‘An hour later they realised he had returned and was now clutching a knife to his chest.’
    • ‘As we stood there awkwardly, clutching our bags, Aunt Rachel gazed at us thoughtfully.’
    • ‘As he clutched his chest and fell to the ground in pain, he realized the horror of his mistake.’
    • ‘She yelled back, tightly clutching the seatbelt running diagonally down her chest.’
    • ‘Too scared to speak, she drove, her eyes alternately on the road ahead and the hand clutching the gun.’
    • ‘She was wearing tatty clothes and her grubby hands clutched dozens of plastic bags.’
    • ‘Standing in the witness box, she clutched her handbag to her body to stop her hands from shaking as she gave her evidence.’
    • ‘The crying woman was clutching her cellphone and at first I thought she must be laughing.’
    • ‘His wife, a petite blonde, stands beside him clutching a glass of wine and smiling stiffly.’
    • ‘The intruder then searched her bedroom and came down stairs clutching her handbag.’
    • ‘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 froze, one hand gripping the doorknob and the other clutching the shawl tightly to her chest.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As it happens, the person at the door was a small man clutching a note book.’
    • ‘Shadows out of the past clutch at my legs and drag me down.’
    • ‘He sits by the fire at a local hotel clutching the caffeine in one hand and the nicotine in the other.’
    grip, grasp, clasp, cling to, hang on to, clench, hold
    reach for, snatch at, make a grab for, catch at, claw at
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Become nervous and panicked.
      ‘doctors could clutch up and lose control as easily as anyone’
      • ‘The Guard clutched up in the final seconds, nailing two free throws and giving him 25 points in the game, to secure a victory.’
      • ‘My throat clutched up, and I could feel the tears.’
      • ‘In the older times, you would foul hoping that the fouled player would clutch up and miss the easy shot.’
      • ‘It's like clutching up, when you first realize you're having a flashback, instead of trying to relax.’

noun

  • 1A tight grasp or an act of grasping something.

    ‘she made a clutch at his body’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A shock of pain went from the impact of his clutch on my arms all the way down through my spine.’
    • ‘You quickly tighten the clutch, as tight as you dare, then hang on!’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She attempted to tear out of his grasp once again until she felt his hand tighten in a bone shattering clutch over her wrist.’
    • ‘I harshly removed my arm from his clutch and yelled, ‘Why are you taking me out here?’’
    • ‘In the process, the notorious Captain's rapier fell from his clutches to catch a safe fall.’
    • ‘I sighed, as I felt his clutch on my arm getting tighter.’
    • ‘He backed over to the phone, still warm from her clutch.’
    • ‘A great weight released its clutch on our hearts when we discovered that we wouldn't have to do this the entire time.’
    • ‘She dropped her sword because his clutch was so tight, she nearly passed out.’
    • ‘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.’’
    • ‘Extracting himself from his friend's protective clutch, Jack stepped closer to his betrothed and her father.’
    • ‘In one desperate clutch at a straw, the company announced that it would start trading in weather!’
    • ‘But as spirits, they could find no clutch on the physical world.’
    1. 1.1someone's clutches A person's power or control, especially when perceived as cruel or inescapable.
      ‘she escaped the clutches of her temperamental family’
      • ‘No school and I was totally free from the clutches of evil Physics and Chemistry professors.’
      • ‘Can they escape the clutches of the next century's power mad phone company?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She moves out, leaving him in the clutches of the two strangers.’
      • ‘Smokers are not creatures of habit, smokers are people caught in the clutches of addiction.’
      • ‘And to force them away from evil clutches would mean fighting the Darkness face to face.’
      • ‘But I didn't want to fall into the clutches of the local moneylenders.’
      • ‘Even though most males caught in her clutches never saw themselves as poor victims.’
      • ‘The cold clutches of reality gripped her stomach with a death hold as she realized… It was all real.’
      power, control, domination, command, mastery, rule, tyranny
      View synonyms
  • 2A mechanism for connecting and disconnecting a vehicle engine from its transmission system.

    • ‘Positioned between the engine and gearbox and using a dual clutch system, this works as both current generator and flywheel.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The first display showed the insides of a four-stroke engine, clutch assembly, gearbox, propeller shaft and differential gear box.’
    • ‘Once the car is in motion, the clutch is operated electronically by the complicated gearbox software.’
    • ‘The clutch between the engine and traction motor is engaged, and electric motor used for bursts of acceleration.’
    • ‘Conventional automatic transmission systems do not have a clutch between the engine and the gearbox.’
    • ‘As you feed your bike extra gas, making the engine race, re-engaging the clutch makes your machine shoot forward.’
    • ‘The gear sets and electric motors are separated by two electronic clutches.’
    • ‘The dual-plate mechanical clutch has a pneumatic booster and three-range five-speed gearbox.’
    • ‘Two electronically controlled clutches deliver torque to the front wheels individually.’
    • ‘At the end of the session the technicians inspected the car and found that the real problem was the clutch and not 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.’
    • ‘All the hydraulic fuel began to drain out and it was not long until the clutch ceased to function properly.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Our spiral retaining rings are used for clutches, transmissions and many other automotive components.’
    • ‘We were just attempting to start the car when the clutch jumped.’
    • ‘The clutch and gearbox are smooth, the seat seems comfy, the wind protection is very good.’
    1. 2.1 The pedal operating a vehicle's clutch.
      • ‘Depress the clutch, change gear into neutral again, and apply brakes.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I slowly pushed the gas pedal downward and lifted my left foot off the clutch.’
      • ‘‘A lot of people use the clutch and the brake pedal in the wrong order,’ said Smyth.’
      • ‘Ian shifted the gear lever into reverse, his left foot trembling, ready to release the clutch at the first opportunity.’
      • ‘In manual mode, drivers can go up or down gears without depressing the clutch.’
      • ‘Kate pushed in the clutch and turned the key in the ignition.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There's not much space around the pedals which means if you have large feet like me, clutch and brake operation can be awkward.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I had a go on his bike and controlling the two brakes and clutch at the same time is quite a feat.’
      • ‘I was coasting up to a roundabout, foot on the clutch and with second gear already selected.’
  • 3North American A slim, flat handbag without handles or a strap.

    • ‘On her feet were strappy black stilettos, and she was holding onto a matching silver clutch, with a black square clasp.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I can totally picture someone wearing a dress for a nice night out holding this clutch.’
    • ‘And of course with the dress, she had to get a pair of black strappy heels and a cute black clutch.’
    • ‘If you're wearing a plain outfit, choose a bag that will add interest: get a sparkly/beaded/colourful clutch.’
    • ‘She smiled once more at the reflection her mirror presented, grabbed her red velvet clutch, and left the room.’
    • ‘When she returned, she carried a tiny satin clutch and was smiling brightly.’
    • ‘On her feet were a simple pair of black slides with a 4-inch heel and a sleek black clutch was in her hand.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She popped the clasp on her clutch and plucked out her mobile phone.’
    • ‘Slouchy or hobo handbags remain strong for day, while the clutch reappears for night.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Put the accent on femininity with this classy suede-and-lace clutch.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This vintage-inspired clutch adds a pop of color and excitement to any look.’
    • ‘She checked herself once more in the mirror and freshened her lip gloss before tucking the bottle into her clutch and snapping it shut.’

adjective

US
informal
  • 1(in sport) denoting or occurring in 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’
    • ‘"I love having to close the match and throw the ball in clutch situations," said Smith, who was forced to finish first by Couch.’
    • ‘His play in the clutch moments of the final three games against the Wild was nowhere near good enough.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He likes being in clutch situations, always the mark of a great player.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Both are making better decisions 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.’
    • ‘Instead, he's trying to go through two or three defenders during clutch times.’
    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 free-throw shooting’
      • ‘He's a clutch hitter who makes everyone around him better.’
      • ‘Espo - he was so clutch for us that whole series.’
      • ‘Earlier in his season Valbuena had some clutch hits in key situations.’
      • ‘When the clock winds down and the Nets need a clutch shot, they will turn to their point guard.’
      • ‘He's obviously not a "clutch" pitcher.’
      • ‘Barry makes too many clutch plays to be on the bench late in games.’
      • ‘His defense is top tier and he is hitting .286 for the last two weeks with numerous timely clutch hits.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There's little statistical evidence that "clutch" players exist - that some guys hit disproportionately well in important situations.’
      • ‘He has defined the word "clutch" for the Steelers, with three turnovers in his last 143 throws.’
      • ‘The Cleveland Indians are headed back to the American League Championship Series thanks to some clutch pitching from an unlikely ace.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The New England Patriots quarterback is, as his Denver Broncos counterpart Jake Plummer puts it, "very clutch".’
      • ‘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 buzzer-beating, game-winning jumper in Detroit was his latest example of clutch play.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 don't understand how to buy things; I always 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Thank you for coming through in the clutch.’
      • ‘His failings have become clear: not too smart, not too experienced, unimpressive in the clutch.’
      • ‘Hunte also spoke highly of his two veteran players, Vernon Lewis and Kane Easter, who both came through 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.’
      • ‘Bryan came through in the clutch when it was needed.’
      • ‘I insisted that Barrett belonged on the All-Star team, citing his batting average 'in the clutch' and stellar fielding percentage.’

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

/kləCH//klətʃ/

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.

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

/kləCH//klətʃ/