from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To grasp and hold tightly.
  • intransitive verb To seize; snatch.
  • intransitive verb To attempt to grasp or seize.
  • intransitive verb To engage or disengage a motor vehicle's clutch.
  • noun A hand, claw, talon, or paw in the act of grasping.
  • noun A tight grasp.
  • noun Control or power.
  • noun A device for gripping and holding.
  • noun Any of various devices for engaging and disengaging two working parts of a shaft or of a shaft and a driving mechanism.
  • noun The apparatus, such as a lever or pedal, that activates one of these devices.
  • noun A tense, critical situation.
  • noun A clutch bag.
  • adjective Being or occurring in a tense or critical situation.
  • adjective Tending to be successful in tense or critical situations.
  • idiom (clutch) To search in desperation for a solution to a difficulty.
  • noun The complete set of eggs produced or incubated at one time.
  • noun A brood of chickens.
  • noun A group; a bunch.
  • transitive verb To hatch (chicks).

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To grasp tightly or firmly; seize, clasp, or grip strongly: as, to clutch a dagger.
  • To close tightly; clench.
  • To fasten.
  • To get; gain.
  • Specifically To seize (a clutch of eggs); take from the clutch.
  • To snatch, or endeavor to snatch; try to grasp or seize: with at.
  • A dialectal variant of cluck.
  • noun Nautical: A forked stanchion.
  • noun The throat of a patent anchor.
  • noun Oyster spawn.
  • noun A grasp or hold; specifically, a strong grip upon anything.
  • noun In machinery: A movable coupling or locking and unlocking contrivance, used for transmitting motion, or for disconnecting moving parts of machinery. See bayonet-clutch, friction-clutch, etc.
  • noun The cross-head of a piston-rod.
  • noun The paw, talon, or claw of a rapacious animal.
  • noun Figuratively, the hand, as representing power; hence, power of disposal or control; mastery: chiefly in the plural: as, to fall into the clutches of an enemy.
  • noun A hatch of eggs; the number of eggs incubated at any one time; in the case of the domestic hen, specifically, thirteen eggs.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To seize, clasp, or grip with the hand, hands, or claws; -- often figuratively.
  • transitive verb To close tightly; to clinch.
  • noun A gripe or clinching with, or as with, the fingers or claws; seizure; grasp.
  • noun The hands, claws, or talons, in the act of grasping firmly; -- often figuratively, for power, rapacity, or cruelty.
  • noun (Mach.) A device which is used for coupling shafting, etc., so as to transmit motion, and which may be disengaged at pleasure.
  • noun Any device for gripping an object, as at the end of a chain or tackle.
  • noun (Zoöl.) The nest complement of eggs of a bird.
  • noun (Mach.) a clutch in which connection is made by means of bayonets attached to arms sliding on a feathered shaft. The bayonets slide through holes in a crosshead fastened on the shaft.
  • intransitive verb To reach (at something) as if to grasp; to catch or snatch; -- often followed by at.
  • intransitive verb to become too tense or frightened to perform properly; used sometimes with up.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The pedal in a car that disengages power transmission.
  • noun A small handbag or purse with no straps or handle.
  • noun US An important or critical situation.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English clucchen, from Old English clyccan.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Variant of dialectal cletch; akin to Middle English clekken, to hatch, from Old Norse klekja.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Variant form of cletch, from Middle English cleken ("to hatch"), perhaps from Old Norse klekja ("to hatch").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English clucchen, clicchen, cluchen, clechen, cleken, from Old English clyccan ("to clutch, clench"), from Proto-Germanic *klukjanan, from Proto-Germanic *klu- (“to ball up, conglomerate, amass”), from Proto-Indo-European *glew- (“to ball up; lump, mass”). Cognate with Swedish klyka ("clamp, fork, branch"). The noun is from Middle English cleche, cloche, cloke ("claw, talon, hand"; compare Scots cleuk, cluke, cluik ("claw, talon")), of uncertain origin, with the form probably assimilated to the verb.


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  • Counting acts and clutching thoughts

    By the river where the moss grows

    Over rocks the water running all the time.

    Is it wicked when you smile

    Even though you feel like crying

    Even though you could be sick at any time?

    (Is it wicked not to care?, by Belle and Sebastian)

    August 21, 2008

  • only as in 'clutch purse'. 'A clutch of eggs' is fine. 'Clutch' though. RUGHGHHRHGH.

    July 17, 2011