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Related to clutching: Clutching at Straws

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.]
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Fearful of the loss of position or affection:
References in classic literature ?
In vain, when freed, did Ponta try to avoid the clutching arms and twining body.
He slipped back out of sight, but as he disappeared I could see him clutching for a grip on the wall with one hand, and with the other clutching at his throat.
His hands were clutching the sward on either side and his finger nails were stuffed with earth and bits of grass that he had gathered in his despairing grasp upon life.