To clutch is to grasp or hold on to tightly. Some people clutch the safety bar on the roller coaster for dear life; others throw their hands in the air.

As a noun, clutch has many meanings: a brood of chickens, a strapless purse, the extra pedal in a stick-shift car. But the verb remains a great way to describe grasping. "Once I knew only darkness and stillness . . . but a little word from the fingers of another fell into my hand that clutched at emptiness, and my heart leaped to the rapture of living,” said Helen Keller, recalling the moment she learned to read Braille.

Definitions of clutch
  1. verb
    take hold of; grab
    “She clutched her purse”
    synonyms: prehend, seize
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    seize suddenly
    seize together, as of parallel ropes of a tackle in order to prevent running through the block
    clutch as if in panic
    apprehend, arrest, collar, cop, nab, nail, pick up
    take into custody
    capture, catch, get
    succeed in catching or seizing, especially after a chase
    seize by the neck or collar
    grasp firmly
    hold fast or firmly
    take or grasp suddenly
    catch, grab, take hold of
    take hold of so as to seize or restrain or stop the motion of
    snap, snatch, snatch up
    to grasp hastily or eagerly
    clench, clinch
    hold in a tight grasp
    grapple, grip
    grip or seize, as in a wrestling match
    spear with a harpoon
    catch or try to catch fish or shellfish
    catch with a hook
    net, nett
    catch with a net
    recapture, retake
    capture again
    swoop, swoop up
    seize or catch with a swooping motion
    intercept, stop
    seize on its way
    bite, seize with teeth
    to grip, cut off, or tear with or as if with the teeth or jaws
    nip, pinch, squeeze, tweet, twinge, twitch
    squeeze tightly between the fingers
    lasso, rope
    catch with a lasso
    type of:
    get hold of, take
    get into one's hands, take physically
  2. verb
    hold firmly, usually with one's hands
    “She clutched my arm when she got scared”
    synonyms: cling to, hold close, hold tight
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    cuddle, draw close, nest, nestle, nuzzle, snuggle
    move or arrange oneself in a comfortable and cozy position
    type of:
    hold, take hold
    have or hold in one's hands or grip
  3. noun
    the act of grasping
    synonyms: clasp, clench, clutches, grasp, grip, hold
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    choke hold, chokehold
    a restraining hold; someone loops the arm around the neck of another person in a tight grip, usually from behind
    embrace, embracement, embracing
    the act of clasping another person in the arms (as in greeting or affection)
    wrestling hold
    a hold used in the sport of wrestling
    cuddle, nestle, snuggle
    a close and affectionate (and often prolonged) embrace
    clinch, hug, squeeze
    a tight or amorous embrace
    bear hug
    a wrestling hold with arms locked tightly around the opponent
    any of several wrestling holds in which an arm is passed under the opponent's arm from behind and the hand exerts pressure on the back of the neck
    Japanese stranglehold
    a wrestling hold in which the opponent's arms are crossed in front of his own neck to exert pressure on his windpipe
    any wrestling hold in which some part of the opponent's body is twisted or pressured
    scissor grip, scissor hold, scissors, scissors grip, scissors hold
    a wrestling hold in which you wrap your legs around the opponents body or head and put your feet together and squeeze
    a wrestling hold in which the arms are pressed against the opponent's windpipe
    a wrestling hold in which the toe is held and the leg is twisted against the joints
    type of:
    grasping, prehension, seizing, taking hold
    the act of gripping something firmly with the hands (or the tentacles)
  4. verb
    synonyms: get hold of, seize
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    type of:
    overcome, overpower, overtake, overwhelm, sweep over, whelm
    overcome, as with emotions or perceptual stimuli
  5. noun
    a tense critical situation
    “he is a good man in the clutch
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    type of:
    temporary state
    a state that continues for a limited time
  6. noun
    a coupling that connects or disconnects driving and driven parts of a driving mechanism
    “this year's model has an improved clutch
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    a clutch (as on the rear wheel of a bicycle) that allows wheels to turn freely (as in coasting)
    friction clutch
    a clutch in which one part turns the other by the friction between them
    cone clutch, cone friction clutch
    a friction clutch in which the frictional surfaces are cone-shaped
    disk clutch
    a friction clutch in which the frictional surfaces are disks
    slip clutch, slip friction clutch
    a friction clutch that will slip when the torque is too great
    type of:
    coupler, coupling
    a mechanical device that serves to connect the ends of adjacent objects
  7. noun
    a pedal or lever that engages or disengages a rotating shaft and a driving mechanism
    “he smoothely released the clutch with one foot and stepped on the gas with the other”
    synonyms: clutch pedal
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    type of:
    foot lever, foot pedal, pedal, treadle
    a lever that is operated with the foot
  8. noun
    a collection of things or persons to be handled together
    synonyms: batch
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    schmear, schmeer, shmear
    (Yiddish) a batch of things that go together
    type of:
    accumulation, aggregation, assemblage, collection
    several things grouped together or considered as a whole
  9. noun
    a number of birds hatched at the same time
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    type of:
    the young of an animal cared for at one time
  10. noun
    a woman's strapless purse that is carried in the hand
    synonyms: clutch bag
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    type of:
    bag, handbag, pocketbook, purse
    a container used for carrying money and small personal items or accessories (especially by women)
Word Family

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