to hold something tightly because you do not want to lose it [= grip, grasp]:
She was clutching a bottle of champagne.
2 [intransitive and transitive] also clutch at somebody/something
to suddenly take hold of someone or something because you are frightened, in pain or in danger [= grab]:
He clutched at a pillar for support.
Tom fell to the ground clutching his stomach.
if something clutches at your heart, you suddenly feel fear or nervousness
3 especially British English
to be trying everything possible to find a solution or hope in a difficult situation, even though it will probably be unsuccessful:
I knew that trying the alternative medicine was just clutching at straws.