Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Idioms, Encyclopedia.

clutch 1

v. clutched, clutch·ing, clutch·es
1. To grasp and hold tightly: a child clutching a blanket.
2. To seize; snatch: clutched the banana from my hand.
1. To attempt to grasp or seize: clutch at a life raft.
2. To engage or disengage a motor vehicle's clutch.
1. A hand, claw, talon, or paw in the act of grasping.
2. A tight grasp.
3. often clutches Control or power: caught in the clutches of sin.
4. A device for gripping and holding.
a. Any of various devices for engaging and disengaging two working parts of a shaft or of a shaft and a driving mechanism.
b. The apparatus, such as a lever or pedal, that activates one of these devices.
6. A tense, critical situation: came through in the clutch.
7. A small, strapless purse that is carried in the hand.
adj. Informal
1. Being or occurring in a tense or critical situation: won the championship by sinking a clutch putt.
2. Tending to be successful in tense or critical situations: The coach relied on her clutch pitcher.
clutchat straws
To search in desperation for a solution to a difficulty.

[Middle English clucchen, variant of clicchen, from Old English clyccan; probably akin to Swedish klyka, crotch (of a tree), place where something branches.]

clutch 2

1. The complete set of eggs produced or incubated at one time.
2. A brood of chickens.
3. A group; a bunch.
tr.v. clutched, clutch·ing, clutch·es
To hatch (chicks).

[Variant of dialectal cletch; akin to Middle English clekken, to hatch, from Old Norse klekja.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.clutches - the act of graspingclutches - the act of grasping; "he released his clasp on my arm"; "he has a strong grip for an old man"; "she kept a firm hold on the railing"
choke hold, chokehold - a restraining hold; someone loops the arm around the neck of another person in a tight grip, usually from behind; "he grabbed the woman in a chokehold, demanded her cash and jewelry, and then fled"
embrace, embracement, embracing - the act of clasping another person in the arms (as in greeting or affection)
prehension, taking hold, grasping, seizing - the act of gripping something firmly with the hands (or the tentacles)
wrestling hold - a hold used in the sport of wrestling
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in classic literature ?
What delight could there be for Joe in that brutal surging and straining of bodies, those fierce clutches, fiercer blows, and terrible hurts?
Malbihn, urging his men onward with a stream of hideous oaths and blows from his fists, realized that the girl was again slipping from his clutches. The leading canoe, in the bow of which he stood, was yet a hundred yards behind the fleeing Meriem when she ran the point of her craft beneath the overhanging trees on the shore of safety.
Into this fell the body of the warrior, and as a drowning man clutches at a straw so the fellow clutched at the tangled cordage that caught him and arrested his fall.
But I had my hand on the climbing bars now, and, kicking violently, I disengaged myself from the clutches of the Morlocks and was speedily clambering up the shaft, while they stayed peering and blinking up at me: all but one little wretch who followed me for some way, and wellnigh secured my boot as a trophy.
He wished that Mugambi, Sheeta, Akut, and the balance of the pack were with him, for he realized that single-handed it would be no child's play to bring Jane safely from the clutches of two such scoundrels as Rokoff and the wily M'ganwazam.
However, she had no intention of falling again into the man's clutches. She would rather die at once than that that should happen to her.
At the last long-house below the gorge, the head of which had witnessed Virginia Maxon's escape from the clutches of Ninaka and Barunda, the searching party was forced to stop owing to a sudden attack of fever which had prostrated the professor.
But for that Virginia would still be in his clutches and by this time he would have been beyond all hope of capture.
Yet a promise was a promise, and, again, was it not true that but for von Horn she would have been dead or worse than dead in a short time had she not been rescued from the clutches of the soulless Bulan?
[USPRwire, Wed Oct 24 2018] Industrial brakes and clutches market covers a variety of holding & dynamic brakes and clutches used in industrial process equipment such as turbines, uphill, downhill & overland conveyors, overhead cranes, trolleys, bridges, hoists & winches, rotors & yaw systems, motors & engines, elevators, cable cars & ropeway and stacker reclaimer.
CS Clutches provide an efficient connection between a motor and a load providing low inertia, minimal drag, and very quiet operation.