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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.
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 crutches
  • These addictions alter mental state and are crutches for getting through day-to-day life.
  • Presently the muscle gives her problems during day and night and she can not walk with out crutches or uses a wheel chair.
  • As the machine-gun barrels were chair legs and the handlebars were crutches, the effect was more theatrical than threatening.
  • It's a five-minute outpatient procedure that requires the individual to be on crutches or use a cane for about two weeks.
  • Her leg was amputated high above the knee, and she has always used crutches with her false leg-until now.
  • He is supported on crutches, but lacks so much support of muscle.
  • We've grown used to having everything ready-made, to walking on crutches, to having our food chewed for us.
  • Both the author and his brother came down with the disease, the former left paralysed and unable to walk without crutches.
  • Though it may need crutches, it will shed its leaves in autumn and bloom again next spring.
  • Another had pretended to be lame since early childhood, limping around on two brooms instead of crutches.
British Dictionary definitions for crutches


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 crutches



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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crutches 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 crutches


  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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