to clutch at straws

Idiom Definition

"to clutch at straws"

to desperately try to solve a problem or remediate a situation using any possible solution however small the hopes of success

Idiom Definition - to clutch at straws


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - to clutch at straws

A husband and wife are talking ...

Wife:  What are we going to do?  We are two months behind with the mortgage.  We've had a repossession notice on the car and our daughters' school fees are due next week.

Husband:  I'm sorry that I've been out of work for the last year.  Maybe we could ask our parents for money.

Wife:  We've already asked for too much from them.

Husband:  Could we take a second mortgage out on the house?

Wife:  The bank won't agree.

Husband:  We could break open the childrens' piggy banks.

Wife:  Now you're clutching at straws.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - to clutch at straws

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1:  Our new product launch is scheduled for the day after tomorrow and the supplier just telephoned to say that shipping will be delayed for a week.

Colleague 2:  What are we going to do?

Colleague 1:  We could delay the launch.

Colleague 2:  Impossible.  All the publicity and advertising is in place.

Colleague 1:  We could use the demo models for the launch.

Colleague 2:  And if people want to actually buy the product?

Colleague 1:  We could just explain the situation and make excuses.

Colleague 2:  You're just clutching at straws now.  Our situation is desperate.

to clutch at straws - Usage:


to clutch at straws - Gerund Form:

Clutching at straws usually signals a desperate situation.

to clutch at straws - Examples:

1)  If the designer needs to clutch at straws to find what you're looking for, frustration will mount on both sides.

2)  This is just another laughable example of homeopaths' need to clutch at straws of real science to try to claim legitimacy.

3)  And I don't need to clutch at straws, I can ban you in two mouse-clicks if I want to.

4)  Don't clutch at straws but ask for evidence, and seek advice on how reliable that evidence really is.

5)  I think I am nearly out of ideas, and somewhat starting to clutch at straws!

6)  I suppose a drowning man will clutch at straws.

7)  It really is annoying when people clutch at straws to fit each other up for bigotry.

8)  They clutch at straws, they flit from one philosophy to the next, they incessantly search for the answers.

9)  Highlighting these isolated responses is a last-ditch attempt to clutch at straws.

10)  Perhaps an inner awareness of playing a losing game made him clutch at straws.

11)  Rather than just clutching at straws and offering up floppy band-aids, just admit you're in over head.

12)  I think he is clutching at straws in trying to find a solution to the problem.

13)  Well, in the face of such a ruthless demonstration of genius, clutching at straws is the only strategy.

14)  Call it clutching at straws or blind faith and optimism but I really believe that there were signs of improvement.

15)  People are really clutching at straws if they think this has any significance to 911.

16)  It is just people desperately clutching at straws, trying to find a twist that isn't there.

17)  Hodgson, however, was not clutching at straws when he argued there were still plenty of positives.

18)  I couldn't help but feel though that his teacher was clutching at straws trying to explain his poor behavior.

19)  Politics aside when you are clutching at straws like that to discredit your opponent it just makes you appear small-minded.

20)  I'm not sure why you take the clutching at straws approach to justifying why your PS3 is the best thing since sliced bread.