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

  • transitive v. To grasp and hold tightly.
  • transitive v. To seize; snatch.
  • intransitive v. To attempt to grasp or seize: clutch at a life raft.
  • intransitive v. To engage or disengage a motor vehicle's clutch.
  • n. A hand, claw, talon, or paw in the act of grasping.
  • n. A tight grasp.
  • n. Control or power. Often used in the plural: caught in the clutches of sin.
  • n. A device for gripping and holding.
  • n. Any of various devices for engaging and disengaging two working parts of a shaft or of a shaft and a driving mechanism.
  • n. The apparatus, such as a lever or pedal, that activates one of these devices.
  • n. A tense, critical situation: came through in the clutch.
  • n. A clutch bag.
  • adj. Informal Being or occurring in a tense or critical situation: won the championship by sinking a clutch putt.
  • adj. Informal Tending to be successful in tense or critical situations: The coach relied on her clutch pitcher.
  • n. The complete set of eggs produced or incubated at one time.
  • n. A brood of chickens.
  • n. A group; a bunch.
  • transitive v. To hatch (chicks).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The pedal in a car that disengages power transmission.
  • n. A small handbag or purse with no straps or handle.
  • n. An important or critical situation.
  • adj. Performing or tending to perform well in difficult, high-pressure situations.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A gripe or clinching with, or as with, the fingers or claws; seizure; grasp.
  • n. The hands, claws, or talons, in the act of grasping firmly; -- often figuratively, for power, rapacity, or cruelty.
  • n. A device which is used for coupling shafting, etc., so as to transmit motion, and which may be disengaged at pleasure.
  • n. Any device for gripping an object, as at the end of a chain or tackle.
  • n. The nest complement of eggs of a bird.
  • intransitive v. To reach (at something) as if to grasp; to catch or snatch; -- often followed by at.
  • intransitive v. to become too tense or frightened to perform properly; used sometimes with up.
  • transitive v. To seize, clasp, or grip with the hand, hands, or claws; -- often figuratively.
  • transitive v. To close tightly; to clinch.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • n. A grasp or hold; specifically, a strong grip upon anything.
  • n. 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.
  • n. The cross-head of a piston-rod.
  • n. The paw, talon, or claw of a rapacious animal.
  • n. 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.
  • n. A hatch of eggs; the number of eggs incubated at any one time; in the case of the domestic hen, specifically, thirteen eggs.
  • n.
  • n. Nautical: A forked stanchion.
  • n. The throat of a patent anchor.
  • n. Oyster spawn.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. hold firmly, usually with one's hands
  • v. affect
  • n. a number of birds hatched at the same time
  • n. a woman's strapless purse that is carried in the hand
  • n. the act of grasping
  • n. a collection of things or persons to be handled together
  • v. take hold of; grab
  • n. a pedal or lever that engages or disengages a rotating shaft and a driving mechanism
  • n. a tense critical situation
  • n. a coupling that connects or disconnects driving and driven parts of a driving mechanism


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

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

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.

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").



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

    July 17, 2011

  • 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