1 sb/sth's clutches sb/sth's power/control
VERB + CLUTCH fall into She fell into the clutches of the rebel forces. | escape (from)
PREP. in sb's ~ They had him in their clutches. | out of sb's ~ Once she was out of their clutches, she fled across the border.
2 in a car
VERB + CLUTCH drop, engage, put your foot on | disengage, let in/out, release, take your foot off Put it into first gear and let the clutch out slowly. | ride (= to keep in a state between full engagement and disengagement) The driver at the traffic lights was riding his clutch.
CLUTCH + VERB engage | disengage | slip
CLUTCH + NOUN pedal
ADV. firmly, tightly | desperately
PREP. at He felt himself slipping and clutched at a branch.
PHRASES clutch sth in your hand She clutched her handbag tightly in one hand. | clutch sth to your chest She clutched the letter to her chest.