From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishclutchclutch1 /klʌtʃ/ ●●○ verb 1 [transitive]HOLD to hold something tightly because you do not want to lose it SYN grip, grasp She was clutching a bottle of champagne.► see thesaurus at hold2 [intransitive, transitive] (also clutch at somebody/something) a) to suddenly take hold of someone or something because you are frightened, in pain, or in danger SYN 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 nervousness3 → be clutching at straws→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpusclutch• Joanne clutched her mother's hand.• There was a loud report somewhere outside the house and Lee clutched her pillow.• We only clutch our rifles more firmly and brace ourselves to receive the shock...• A patient found him screaming and clutching the bottle.• She stumbled to her feet, clutching the eiderdown around her, and opened her mouth to call to them.• That way, you can see if you clutch the lectern or keep your hands too stiffly at your side.• I had seen them in Kano clutching their swords as they slept in shop doorways where they were employed as night-watchmen.• Yet they come out of there clutching this little key he give them.• Fong stood in the doorway, his invitation clutched tightly in his hand.clutchclutch2 ●○○ noun 1 [countable] the pedal that you press with your foot when driving a vehicle in order to change gear, or the part of the vehicle that this controls2 → somebody’s clutches3 → clutch of something4 [singular]HOLD a tight hold that someone has on something SYN grip, grasp I shook myself free of her clutch.
Examples from the Corpusclutch• Rarely can such a clutch of famous names have faced the stark and unfamiliar spectre of failure on one afternoon.• Some have more efficient clutches, some have better bale-arm mechanisms; better finishes or smoother gears.• The heavy clutch and cumbersome gear change remain the worst feature.• At last her clutch on him became less desperate and her shivers less violent.• Soon there would be the little clutch of spectators, the curious children shooed away by the adults, the Press photographers.• A female caged with an impotent male produced clutches at roughly one month intervals.• Such noises made Wyatt wonder if Cyril bothered to use the clutch at all or had resolved somehow to do without it.Origin clutch1 Old English clyccan clutch2 1. (1600-1700) → CLUTCH12. (1700-1800) cletch “clutch” ((17-19 centuries)), from cleck “to hatch” ((15-19 centuries)), from Old Norse klekja