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

  • intransitive v. To stagger. See Synonyms at blunder.
  • intransitive v. To roll or pitch suddenly or erratically: The ship lurched in the storm. The car gave a start and then lurched forward.
  • n. A staggering or tottering movement or gait.
  • n. An abrupt rolling or pitching.
  • n. The losing position of a cribbage player who scores 30 points or less to the winner's 61.
  • idiom in the lurch In a difficult or embarrassing position.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A sudden or unsteady movement.
  • v. To make such a sudden, unsteady movement.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An old game played with dice and counters; a variety of the game of tables.
  • n. A double score in cribbage for the winner when his adversary has been left in the lurch.
  • n. A sudden roll of a ship to one side, as in heavy weather; hence, a swaying or staggering movement to one side, as that by a drunken man.
  • intransitive v. To swallow or eat greedily; to devour; hence, to swallow up.
  • intransitive v. To roll or sway suddenly to one side, as a ship or a drunken man; to move forward while lurching.
  • intransitive v. To withdraw to one side, or to a private place; to lurk.
  • intransitive v. To dodge; to shift; to play tricks.
  • transitive v. To leave in the lurch; to cheat.
  • transitive v. To steal; to rob.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To lie in concealment; lurk; move stealthily.
  • To sulk; pout.
  • To shift; dodge; play tricks.
  • To roll or sway suddenly to one side, or from side to side, as a ship in a heavy sea or a carriage on a rough road.
  • To walk with an uneven or shifting gait; stagger: as, he went lurching down the street.
  • To swallow or devour; eat up; consume.
  • To win a double game in cribbage, piquet, etc.
  • To leave in the lurch; disappoint.
  • To forestall; rob; swindle; cheat.
  • To capture criminally or dishonestly; appropriate; steal.
  • To take (game) with a lurcher. See lurcher, 2.
  • n. A sudden lateral movement or swaying to one side, as of a ship, a carriage, or a staggering person.
  • n. Hence Any sudden or unexpected shift or change of position.
  • n. An inclination; disposition; leaning.
  • n. An old game, the nature of which is unknown.
  • n. In cribbage, the position of a player when his opponent has won every point (61 holes) before he himself has made 30 holes; also, the state of the game under these circumstances; a double game.
  • n. [⟨ lurch, verb] A cheat; a swindle.
  • n. To leave suddenly or unexpectedly in an embarrassing predicament.

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

  • n. a decisive defeat in a game (especially in cribbage)
  • v. move abruptly
  • v. move slowly and unsteadily
  • v. walk as if unable to control one's movements
  • n. an unsteady uneven gait
  • v. defeat by a lurch
  • n. abrupt up-and-down motion (as caused by a ship or other conveyance)
  • v. loiter about, with no apparent aim
  • n. the act of moving forward suddenly


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

Origin unknown.
Perhaps back-formation from Middle English lurching, a total victory at lorche, a kind of game; perhaps akin to lurken, to lurk; see lurk.


  • Unfortunately, the win actually still leaves Florian in the title lurch, even though it appeared he had punched his ticket before the win over Stevenson with a victory over Roger Huerta earlier this year.

    UFC blog for UFC news, results, videos, rumors, fights, pics and tickets --

  • Comparing Hillary†™ s lurch to the right (and landing in the center) is comparable to McCains†™ lurch from the center to the right.

    Think Progress » McCain Attacks Blogosphere

  • Yet in such circumstances the woman who has been left in the lurch is supposed to suffer, quite apart from the damage to her affection, a sort of moral damage and disgrace from the heartlessness or fickleness of another person – the man to whom she has been engaged; and this moral damage is, I believe, taken into account in actions for breach of promise of marriage (where there is no question of seduction).

    Marriage as a Trade

  • LA is right about "lurch" -- or at least would have been before Oct. The proposed $850B spending plan does look like a lurch.

    Lamar!: Obama's Election Win Was For "A Change In Management," Not Policies

  • Comparing Hillary’s lurch to the right (and landing in the center) is comparable to McCains’ lurch from the center to the right.

    Think Progress » McCain Attacks Blogosphere

  • The lurch is a miserable place, desolate, and filled with doors and paths and roads that all lead nowhere.

    A Letter from the Lurch

  • "You think it would be unfriendly to me and my son here to leave us in what you English people call the lurch; and therefore you are depriving yourself of what would be a great pleasure as naturalists and hunters in which you would indulge if we were not here."

    The Ocean Cat's Paw The Story of a Strange Cruise

  • In the next instant, the great bulk of these materials were jerked back again to their original situation, by that peculiar movement, so trying to unpractised nerves, called a lurch to windward.

    The Lieutenant and Commander

  • Yes | No | Report from ggmack wrote 23 weeks 5 days ago my dog got along fine with the choke collar. we needed about 10 months to get everyrthing right. now he just has a custom made nylon collar. he is a big boy. it works as a handle around the house. the pizza man still calls him "lurch" that dog always gets to the door first.

    The Collar Debate: Pinch vs.

  • She gave a kind of lurch and kept walking more briskly, when she saw me straightening up from the dirty work.

    Revenge at the Nudist Camp


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  • Also, the name of this guy. ;-)

    January 28, 2008

  • a place where one may be left:

    "However, he had learned the advantage of taking his time, and before he went he thought better of it, and, in fact, did not go at all to see Celia, but went to Paris for the autumn, which shows that girls shouldn't play fast and loose with the affections of small men with blue eyes, or they may find themselves left in the lurch."

    – John Collier, the conclusion of the story "Halfway to Hell", Fancies and Goodnights

    January 27, 2008