To lurch is to suddenly move — usually forward. If you are on a ship that lurches a lot during a storm, you may find your body lurching in one direction and your stomach going in the opposite one.

The verb lurch can refer to any abrupt movement, but it often has the sense of a sharp turn up, down, or sideways. If you invest in the stock market, you have to be prepared for sudden losses and gains as the stock market can lurch up or down on a whim. The verb also means to make sudden jerking movements when walking, as if you cannot control your movements.

Definitions of lurch
  1. verb
    walk as if unable to control one's movements
    synonyms: careen, keel, reel, stagger, swag
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    type of:
    use one's feet to advance; advance by steps
  2. verb
    move haltingly and unsteadily
    “The truck lurched down the road”
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    type of:
    go, locomote, move, travel
    change location; move, travel, or proceed, also metaphorically
  3. verb
    loiter about, with no apparent aim
  4. noun
    an unsteady uneven gait
    synonyms: stagger, stumble
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    type of:
    a person's manner of walking
  5. noun
    abrupt up-and-down motion (as caused by a ship or other conveyance)
    synonyms: pitch, pitching
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    careen, rock, sway, tilt
    pitching dangerously to one side
    type of:
    motility, motion, move, movement
    a change of position that does not entail a change of location
  6. verb
    move abruptly
    “The ship suddenly lurched to the left”
    synonyms: pitch, shift
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    type of:
    move so as to change position, perform a nontranslational motion
  7. noun
    the act of moving forward suddenly
    synonyms: lunge
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    type of:
    motion, move, movement
    the act of changing location from one place to another
  8. noun
    a decisive defeat in a game (especially in cribbage)
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    type of:
    defeat, licking
    an unsuccessful ending to a struggle or contest
  9. verb
    defeat by a lurch
    synonyms: skunk
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    type of:
    defeat, get the better of, overcome
    win a victory over
Word Family

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