Main definitions of clutch in English

: clutch1clutch2

clutch1

verb

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

    ‘he stood clutching a microphone’
    [no object] figurative ‘Mrs. Longhill clutched at the idea’
    • ‘As we stood there awkwardly, clutching our bags, Aunt Rachel gazed at us thoughtfully.’
    • ‘An hour later they realised he had returned and was now clutching a knife to his chest.’
    • ‘Shadows out of the past clutch at my legs and drag me down.’
    • ‘She froze, one hand gripping the doorknob and the other clutching the shawl tightly to her chest.’
    • ‘The intruder then searched her bedroom and came down stairs clutching her handbag.’
    • ‘Taking a step back, he felt a cold fear clutch at his chest as he forced himself to breathe.’
    • ‘News photos showed one of the men clutching a grenade; relatives insist it was a mobile phone.’
    • ‘When he is informed that a young woman has arrived at his back door clutching a baby, near panic prevails.’
    • ‘The crying woman was clutching her cellphone and at first I thought she must be laughing.’
    • ‘She yelled back, tightly clutching the seatbelt running diagonally down her chest.’
    • ‘She was wearing tatty clothes and her grubby hands clutched dozens of plastic bags.’
    • ‘His wife, a petite blonde, stands beside him clutching a glass of wine and smiling stiffly.’
    • ‘After a short drive around the camp they found a man lying in the bush clutching his leg.’
    • ‘Standing in the witness box, she clutched her handbag to her body to stop her hands from shaking as she gave her evidence.’
    • ‘Fortunately for me, I surface somehow clutching the rope on the side of the upturned raft.’
    • ‘He sits by the fire at a local hotel clutching the caffeine in one hand and the nicotine in the other.’
    • ‘As he clutched his chest and fell to the ground in pain, he realized the horror of his mistake.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘One should neither look forward to coming experiences, nor clutch at present ones, but let them all slip easily through one's fingers.’
    • ‘As it happens, the person at the door was a small man clutching a note book.’
    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
    1. 1.1Become nervous and panicked.
      ‘doctors could clutch up and lose control as easily as anyone’
      • ‘My throat clutched up, and I could feel the tears.’
      • ‘The Guard clutched up in the final seconds, nailing two free throws and giving him 25 points in the game, to secure a victory.’
      • ‘It's like clutching up, when you first realize you're having a flashback, instead of trying to relax.’
      • ‘In the older times, you would foul hoping that the fouled player would clutch up and miss the easy shot.’

noun

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

    ‘she made a clutch at his body’
    • ‘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 squirmed within his grasp, trying to free herself from his clutch, but it was no use.’
    • ‘In the process, the notorious Captain's rapier fell from his clutches to catch a safe fall.’
    • ‘He backed over to the phone, still warm from her clutch.’
    • ‘Extracting himself from his friend's protective clutch, Jack stepped closer to his betrothed and her father.’
    • ‘But as spirits, they could find no clutch on the physical world.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I sighed, as I felt his clutch on my arm getting tighter.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She attempted to tear out of his grasp once again until she felt his hand tighten in a bone shattering clutch over her wrist.’
    • ‘A great weight released its clutch on our hearts when we discovered that we wouldn't have to do this the entire time.’
    • ‘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.’’
    • ‘I harshly removed my arm from his clutch and yelled, ‘Why are you taking me out here?’’
    • ‘A shock of pain went from the impact of his clutch on my arms all the way down through my spine.’
    1. 1.1A person's power or control, especially when perceived as cruel or inescapable.
      ‘she escaped the clutches of her temperamental family’
      • ‘And to force them away from evil clutches would mean fighting the Darkness face to face.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Even though most males caught in her clutches never saw themselves as poor victims.’
      • ‘She moves out, leaving him in the clutches of the two strangers.’
      • ‘The office-bearers have also promised to sustain the movement till the country is freed from the clutches of corruption.’
      • ‘Smokers are not creatures of habit, smokers are people caught in the clutches of addiction.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The cold clutches of reality gripped her stomach with a death hold as she realized… It was all real.’
      • ‘A demon child is rescued during infancy from the evil clutches of the Nazis.’
      • ‘No school and I was totally free from the clutches of evil Physics and Chemistry professors.’
  • 2North 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.’
    • ‘I can totally picture someone wearing a dress for a nice night out holding this clutch.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He slipped his arm though hers and they left, the feathers on her tiny black clutch ruffling as they walked.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘On her feet were a simple pair of black slides with a 4-inch heel and a sleek black clutch was in her hand.’
    • ‘She grabbed her jacket and black clutch as she went to open the door.’
    • ‘Slouchy or hobo handbags remain strong for day, while the clutch reappears for night.’
    • ‘When she returned, she carried a tiny satin clutch and was smiling brightly.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘If you're wearing a plain outfit, choose a bag that will add interest: get a sparkly/beaded/colourful clutch.’
    • ‘She popped the clasp on her clutch and plucked out her mobile phone.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 3A mechanism for connecting and disconnecting a vehicle engine from its transmission system.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We were just attempting to start the car when the clutch jumped.’
    • ‘Conventional automatic transmission systems do not have a clutch between the engine and the gearbox.’
    • ‘While the first clutch is transmitting the power, the second clutch is ready to engage the next gear, which is pre-selected.’
    • ‘Central to the system is a multiplate clutch which controls the power delivery to the front wheels.’
    • ‘As you feed your bike extra gas, making the engine race, re-engaging the clutch makes your machine shoot forward.’
    • ‘The first display showed the insides of a four-stroke engine, clutch assembly, gearbox, propeller shaft and differential gear box.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The fully automatic system requires no input from the driver and uses a computer controlled clutch that engages the rear wheels as needed.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘At the end of the session the technicians inspected the car and found that the real problem was the clutch and not the gearbox.’
    • ‘All the hydraulic fuel began to drain out and it was not long until the clutch ceased to function properly.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Our spiral retaining rings are used for clutches, transmissions and many other automotive components.’
    • ‘The clutch and gearbox are smooth, the seat seems comfy, the wind protection is very good.’
    • ‘The gear sets and electric motors are separated by two electronic clutches.’
    • ‘Positioned between the engine and gearbox and using a dual clutch system, this works as both current generator and flywheel.’
    1. 3.1The pedal operating a vehicle's clutch.
      • ‘I was coasting up to a roundabout, foot on the clutch and with second gear already selected.’
      • ‘In manual mode, drivers can go up or down gears without depressing the clutch.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Kate pushed in the clutch and turned the key in the ignition.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘So I depress the very heavy clutch, apply much effort to the he-man gearshift and off we rumble.’
      • ‘Ian shifted the gear lever into reverse, his left foot trembling, ready to release the clutch at the first opportunity.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘A lot of people use the clutch and the brake pedal in the wrong order,’ said Smyth.’
      • ‘Depress the clutch, change gear into neutral again, and apply brakes.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He savagely gunned the engine and popped the clutch.’

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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Both are making better decisions in clutch situations.’
    • ‘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.’
    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 obviously not a "clutch" pitcher.’
      • ‘His defense is top tier and he is hitting .286 for the last two weeks with numerous timely clutch hits.’
      • ‘There's little statistical evidence that "clutch" players exist - that some guys hit disproportionately well in important situations.’
      • ‘Espo - he was so clutch for us that whole series.’
      • ‘His buzzer-beating, game-winning jumper in Detroit was his latest example of clutch play.’
      • ‘He has defined the word "clutch" for the Steelers, with three turnovers in his last 143 throws.’
      • ‘So, we have Michael's Greatest Moves, Michael's Greatest Clutch Shots, Michael's Greatest Assists, and of course Michael's Greatest Dunks.’
      • ‘He's a clutch hitter who makes everyone around him better.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The New England Patriots quarterback is, as his Denver Broncos counterpart Jake Plummer puts it, "very clutch".’
      • ‘With a series of gutsy chips and clutch putts, Guan notched four birdies and carded a 1-over-par 73.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Earlier in his season Valbuena had some clutch hits in key 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.’
      • ‘Barry makes too many clutch plays to be on the bench late in games.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’

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?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Hunte also spoke highly of his two veteran players, Vernon Lewis and Kane Easter, who both came through 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.’
      • ‘It's not that robots don't bleed, but more that they don't play hurt, or brawl, or choke in the clutch.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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/

Main definitions of clutch in English

: clutch1clutch2

clutch2

noun

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

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

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/