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!