Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Language: Old English
Origin: clyccan

clutch

1 verb
     
clutch1
1 [transitive] 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
a) 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.
b)

clutch at somebody's heart

if something clutches at your heart, you suddenly feel fear or nervousness
3

be clutching at straws

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.

Dictionary pictures of the day
Do you know what each of these is called?
What is the word for picture 1? What is the word for picture 2? What is the word for picture 3? What is the word for picture 4?
Click on any of the pictures above to find out what it is called.

Explore our topic dictionary