There are 2 main definitions of clutch in English:

Share this entry

clutch 1

Line breaks: clutch
Pronunciation: /klʌtʃ/


[with object]
Grasp (something) tightly: he stood clutching a microphone figurative Mrs Longhill clutched at the idea
More example sentences
  • She froze, one hand gripping the doorknob and the other clutching the shawl tightly to her chest.
  • She yelled back, tightly clutching the seatbelt running diagonally down her chest.
  • His wife, a petite blonde, stands beside him clutching a glass of wine and smiling stiffly.
grip, grasp, clasp, cling to, hang on to, clench, hold
reach for, snatch at, make a grab for, catch at, claw at;
grab, seize, lay (one's) hands on, get one's hands on, grab/seize/take hold of


Back to top  
1A tight grasp: she made a clutch at his body
More example sentences
  • She dropped her sword because his clutch was so tight, she nearly passed out.
  • In one desperate clutch at a straw, the company announced that it would start trading in weather!
  • You quickly tighten the clutch, as tight as you dare, then hang on!
1.1 (someone's clutches) A person’s power or control, especially when regarded as inescapable: Tom had fallen into Amanda’s clutches
More example sentences
  • Fear gripped her in icy clutches despite the heat, and then, strangely, it ran down her skin in cold waves like snowmelt down a majestic mountain.
  • She moves out, leaving him in the clutches of the two strangers.
  • The cold clutches of reality gripped her stomach with a death hold as she realized… It was all real.
power, control, domination, command, mastery, rule, tyranny;
hands, hold, grip, grasp, claws, jaws, evil embrace;
custody, possession, keeping
2A mechanism for connecting and disconnecting an engine and the transmission system in a vehicle, or the working parts of any machine: she let the clutch in and the car surged forward
More example sentences
  • Conventional automatic transmission systems do not have a clutch between the engine and the gearbox.
  • Our spiral retaining rings are used for clutches, transmissions and many other automotive components.
  • The clutch between the engine and traction motor is engaged, and electric motor used for bursts of acceleration.
2.1The pedal operating the clutch in a vehicle.
Example sentences
  • ‘A lot of people use the clutch and the brake pedal in the wrong order,’ said Smyth.
  • I slowly pushed the gas pedal downward and lifted my left foot off the clutch.
  • There's not much space around the pedals which means if you have large feet like me, clutch and brake operation can be awkward.
3North American A clutch bag.
Example sentences
  • Put the accent on femininity with this classy suede-and-lace clutch.
  • This vintage-inspired clutch adds a pop of color and excitement to any look.
  • I can totally picture someone wearing a dress for a nice night out holding this clutch.


US informal Back to top  
1(In sport) denoting or occurring at a critical situation in which the outcome of a game or competition is at stake: they both are hard-nosed players who seem to thrive in clutch situations
More example sentences
  • "I love having to close the match and throw the ball in clutch situations," said Smith, who was forced to finish first by Couch.
  • His play in the clutch moments of the final three games against the Wild was nowhere near good enough.
  • The controls are very responsive, and there is no need to worry about a move not going through at a clutch moment.
1.1(Of a player or action) achieving or characterized by success at a critical moment in a game or competition: a clutch quarterback clutch performances
More example sentences
  • So, we have Michael's Greatest Moves, Michael's Greatest Clutch Shots, Michael's Greatest Assists, and of course Michael's Greatest Dunks.
  • The New England Patriots quarterback is, as his Denver Broncos counterpart Jake Plummer puts it, "very clutch".
  • He has defined the word "clutch" for the Steelers, with three turnovers in his last 143 throws.


clutch at straws
see straw.
in the clutch
US informal At a critical moment: why are some athletes able to perform in the clutch while others choke?
More example sentences
  • His failings have become clear: not too smart, not too experienced, unimpressive in the clutch.
  • I don't understand how to buy things; I always choke in the clutch.
  • Hunte also spoke highly of his two veteran players, Vernon Lewis and Kane Easter, who both came through in the clutch.


Middle English (in the sense 'bend, crook'): variant of obsolete clitch 'close the hand', from Old English clyccan 'crook, clench', of Germanic origin.

Words that rhyme with clutch

crutch, Dutch, hutch, inasmuch, insomuch, much, mutch, scutch, such, thrutch, touch
Definition of clutch in:
Share this entry

There are 2 main definitions of clutch in English:

Share this entry
clutch 2 Line breaks: clutch
Pronunciation: /klʌtʃ/


1A group of eggs fertilized at the same time, laid in a single session and (in birds) incubated together: they lay fewer than ten eggs in a clutch
More example sentences
  • We collected clutches, incubated the eggs, and took blood samples from hatching young.
  • The female incubates her large clutch, and both parents tend the hatchlings.
  • The female incubates the clutch of eggs, which can vary from 4 to 6, but usually consists of 5 eggs.
group, batch, nestful
1.1A brood of chicks: the number of chicks in a clutch varies according to the availability of food and the danger of predators
More example sentences
  • Almost 10,000 clutches of chicks were purchased for families in Central America.
  • For example, a donation buys a clutch of chicks for a family in Central America, which will give that family an ongoing supply of eggs, meat and additional income.
  • The proceeds amounted to 115 which bought a clutch of chicks, a goat and a Family Survival Kit.
1.2A small group of people or things: a clutch of brightly painted holiday homes
More example sentences
  • I was surrounded by a clutch of girls and young men - my sisters and brothers.
  • The students have picked up a clutch of medals at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show.
  • Today, thanks to the professional services offered by a clutch of landscape artists, gardening has assumed an altogether different dimension.
group, collection, set, quantity, raft;
handful, fistful, armful
informal load, bunch


Early 18th century: probably a southern variant of northern English dialect cletch, related to Middle English cleck 'to hatch', from Old Norse klekja.

Definition of clutch in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources