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[kruhch] /krʌtʃ/
a staff or support to assist a lame or infirm person in walking, now usually with a crosspiece at one end to fit under the armpit.
any of various devices resembling this in shape or use.
anything that serves as a temporary and often inappropriate support, supplement, or substitute; prop:
He uses liquor as a psychological crutch.
a forked support or part.
the crotch of the human body.
Also, crotch. Nautical.
  1. a forked support for a boom or spar when not in use.
  2. a forked support for an oar on the sides or stern of a rowboat.
  3. a horizontal knee reinforcing the stern frames of a wooden vessel.
a forked device on the left side of a sidesaddle, consisting of two hooks, one of which is open at the bottom and serves to clamp the left knee and the other of which is open at the top and serves to support the right knee.
verb (used with object)
to support on crutches; prop; sustain.
Origin of crutch
before 900; Middle English crucche, Old English cryce (oblique crycce); cognate with Norwegian krykkja, Danish krykke, German Krücke, Dutch kruk. See crook1
Related forms
crutchlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for crutch
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A crutch stood at her side, but there was no wheeled-chair to be seen.

    The Girl from Arizona Nina Rhoades
  • But just as the former is not necessarily a crutch, so the latter was not necessarily a cross.

    The Non-Christian Cross John Denham Parsons
  • And the patriarch came, walking nimbly needing neither guide nor crutch.

    Russian Fairy Tales W. R. S. Ralston
  • With these words he took an iron poker and fashioned it into a crutch for himself.

  • When I came again to myself the monster had pulled himself together, his crutch under his arm, his hat upon his head.

    Treasure Island Robert Louis Stevenson
British Dictionary definitions for crutch


a long staff of wood or metal having a rest for the armpit, for supporting the weight of the body
something that supports or sustains: a crutch to the economy
(Brit) another word for crotch (sense 1)
  1. a forked support for a boom or oar, etc
  2. a brace for reinforcing the frames at the stern of a wooden vessel
(transitive) to support or sustain (a person or thing) as with a crutch
(Austral & NZ, slang) to clip (wool) from the hindquarters of a sheep
Word Origin
Old English crycc; related to Old High German krucka, Old Norse krykkja; see crosier, crook
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for crutch

Old English crycce "crutch, staff," from Proto-Germanic *krukjo (cf. Old Saxon krukka, Middle Dutch crucke, Old High German krucka, German Kröcke "crutch," related to Old Norse krokr "hook;" see crook). Figurative sense is first recorded c.1600. As a verb, from 1640s. Italian gruccia "crutch," crocco "hook" are Germanic loan-words.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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crutch in Medicine

crutch (krŭch)
A staff or support used by a physically injured or disabled individual as an aid in walking, usually designed to fit under the armpit and often used in pairs.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for crutch



  1. A container for a hypodermic needle (1960+ Narcotics)
  2. roach clip (1960s+ Narcotics)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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