clutch

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Related to clutching: Clutching at Straws

pearl-clutching

1. adjective Scandalized or mortified about some event, situation, thing, etc., that was once salacious but is now relatively common; morally conservative, stuffy, prudish, or unfashionable. Those pearl-clutching old prudes gave me dirty looks as I walked past in my cut-off jeans, but I don't give a hoot what they think about me.
2. noun The practice or habit of reacting in a scandalized or mortified manner to once-salacious but now relatively common things, events, situations, etc. I have to say that I am sick and tired of all the pearl-clutching going on amongst parents. Look, our kids are growing up in a different social environment than when we were in school, and it's high time we learned to deal with that!

clutch (one's)/the pearls

To react in a scandalized or mortified manner to once-salacious but now relatively common things, events, situations, etc. Parents should try not to clutch the pearls every time their teenagers come out of their room dressed outrageously—it only makes them want to push the envelope even further. My mother would always clutch her pearls whenever I began telling her about a new boyfriend, so eventually I stopped filling her in altogether.
See also: clutch, pearl

pearl-clutch

To react in a scandalized or mortified manner to once-salacious but now relatively common things, events, situations, etc. Parents should try not to pearl-clutch every time their teenagers come out of their room dressed outrageously—it only makes them want to push the envelope even further. My mother would always pearl-clutch whenever I began telling her about a new boyfriend, so eventually I stopped filling her in altogether.

clutch at a straw

To make a desperate attempt to salvage a bad situation. A: "But what about all those times I took the trash out when you hadn't even asked me to?" B: "That has nothing to do with why you're in trouble now, so stop clutching at a straw."
See also: clutch, straw

a drowning man will clutch at a straw

Someone who is desperate will try to use anything for help, even if it is really no help at all. Facing the possibility that his marriage might be over, John began visiting psychics to help him decide what to do. A drowning man will clutch at a straw.
See also: clutch, drown, man, straw, will

clutch at (someone or something)

To grasp at someone or something. The baby clutched at her mother and wailed. My daughter clutched at the string on the balloon so that it wouldn't fly away.
See also: clutch

clutch at straws

1. To make a desperate attempt to salvage a bad situation. A: "But what about all those times I took the trash out when you hadn't even asked me to?" B: "That has nothing to do with why you're in trouble now, so stop clutching at straws."
2. To consider positive suggestions or thoughts in a bad situation. OK, you're just clutching at straws now, fantasizing about a potential buyer when your house has been on the market for months.
See also: clutch, straw

clutch (someone or something) to (something)

To press or hold something firmly against something else. Suzy clutched her new doll to her chest. Clutch this icepack to your knee to alleviate the swelling.
See also: clutch

fall into (someone or something's) clutches

To be obtained and controlled by an evil person or thing. This will no longer be a sneak attack if our strategy falls into the clutches of the terrorist group.
See also: clutch, fall

grasp at straws

To make a desperate attempt to salvage a bad situation. A: "But what about all those times I took the trash out when you hadn't even asked me to?" B: "That has nothing to do with why you're in trouble now, so stop grasping at straws."
See also: grasp, straw

clutch at someone or something

to grasp at or grab for someone or something. He clutched at the roots of the trees along the bank, but the flood swept him away. Karen clutched at me, but lost her grip.
See also: clutch

clutch at straws

Fig. to continue to seek solutions, ideas, or hopes that are insubstantial. When you talk of cashing in quick on your inventions, you are just clutching at straws. That is not a real solution to the problem. You are just clutching at straws.
See also: clutch, straw

clutch someone or something to something

to grasp and hold someone or something to something. She clutched the baby to her bosom. Lee clutched the ice pack to his head.
See also: clutch

clutch (up)

to become very tense and anxious; to freeze with anxiety. I have been known to clutch before a big game. Just relax, play your game, and you won't clutch!

A drowning man will clutch at a straw.

Prov. When you are desperate, you will look for anything that might help you, even if it cannot help you very much. Scott thinks this faith healer will cure his baldness. A drowning man will clutch at a straw.
See also: clutch, drown, man, straw, will

in(to) someone's clutches

Fig. in the control of someone who has power or authority over someone else. Snow White fell into the clutches of the evil witch. Once you're in my clutches, I'll ruin you.
See also: clutch

grasp at straws

Also, clutch at straws. Make a desperate attempt at saving oneself. For example, He had lost the argument, but he kept grasping at straws, naming numerous previous cases that had little to do with this one . This metaphoric expression alludes to a drowning person trying to save himself by grabbing at flimsy reeds. First recorded in 1534, the term was used figuratively by the late 1600s.
See also: grasp, straw

clutch at straws

mainly BRITISH or

grasp at straws

1. If you clutch at straws or grasp at straws, you try to do something that is very unlikely to succeed because you are desperate or have tried everything else. This was a desperate speech, made by a man clutching at straws to retain his career. I was probably grasping at straws in a search for a cure, but I thought I would give the therapy a go.
2. If you clutch at straws or grasp at straws, you try to find hope in a situation where there is no reason to feel hope. By this time, Rosa's behaviour was extremely strange and we were all very concerned. I told myself that at least she still had a job, but I was clutching at straws. Note: This expression comes from the proverb a drowning man will clutch at a straw. People are still clinging to the hope that something will happen — but I think it's like a drowning man trying to clutch at a straw. Note: The image here is of a drowning person who is desperately trying to take hold of anything to save himself or herself, even a straw.
See also: clutch, straw

clutch (or grasp or catch) at straws

do, say, or believe anything, however unlikely or inadequate, which seems to offer hope in a desperate situation.
This expression comes from the proverb a drowning man will clutch at a straw , which is recorded in various forms since the mid 16th century.
See also: clutch, straw

clutch/grasp at ˈstraws

try all possible means to find a solution or some hope in a difficult or unpleasant situation, even though this seems very unlikely: The doctors have told him that he has only 6 months to live, but he won’t accept it. He’s going to a new clinic in Switzerland next week, but he’s just clutching at straws.
See also: clutch, grasp, straw

clutch (up)

in. to become very tense and anxious; to freeze with anxiety. I have been known to clutch up before a race.
See also: clutch, up

clutch

verb

clutched

mod. nervous. I get so clutched before a test.
See also: clutch

clutch

at straws
To search in desperation for a solution to a difficulty.
References in classic literature ?
The air was full of flappings and pipings, of void, gusty shouts and noises; it buffeted him and confused him; ever and again his attention became rigid--a blind and deaf balancing and clutching.
The thing was going so fast he had but an instant apprehension of the dark figure of the aeronaut crouched together clutching at his wheel.
Once and twice his gasping face and clutching fingers broke up through the still green water, sweeping outwards in the swirl of the current.
The impetuosity of this act and the weight and momentum of his body carried the bull backward, clutching and clawing for support, down through the leafy branches of the tree.
And as he regathered his forces, Tarzan reached Taug's side, and then clambering higher up to the point where the end of the grass rope was made fast, he unloosed it and lowered the ape slowly downward, swinging him in until the clutching hands fastened upon a limb.
He braced his legs and feet, pressing the cabin floor with his toes in a clutching sort of way.
Of course," he repeated, when for the third time his thought passed again round the same spellbound circle of memories and images, and pulling the revolver to the left side of his chest, and clutching it vigorously with his whole hand, as it were, squeezing it in his fist, he pulled the trigger.
They formed into groups, the larger boys, of from ten to twelve, by themselves, the older girls anxiously clutching the small children by the hands or gathering them into their arms.
Another scab, backed over the pickets by a hand clutching his throat, had his face pulped by a revolver butt.