Come up clutch
Posted: 03 July 2018 01:11 PM   [ Ignore ]
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From a report on England’s penalty shoot-out win over Colombia in the World Cup:

As was almost certainly pre-determined by a higher power, England ended up in a penalty shootout. This time around, they came up clutch.

I don’t recall coming across this phrase before. Is it solely sports related or more general?

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Posted: 03 July 2018 08:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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In American English, it’s common in sports broadcasting and writing.  I’ve not heard it in other contexts, though I wouldn’t be surprised if it is used more widely than sports.

Here is Merrian-Webster’s definition of clutch as an adjective:

Definition of clutch
1 : made or done in a crucial situation

a clutch hit

2 : successful in a crucial situation

a clutch pitcher

a clutch hitter

All of those examples are about baseball.  It is also used in basketball to define a critical shot.

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Posted: 04 July 2018 05:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I expect Richard H. will be along to expand on this, but in the meantime, from my first (1989) edition of The Dickson Baseball Dictionary:

clutch n A difficult or critical situation, often one in which the outcome of a game hinges on the success or failure of a team or individual player. Also known as the pinch.
1ST 1937. “But Gabby has always had the knack of inserting base hits in what the ballplayers call ‘the clutch.’ When the score is tied and there’s a man on, those Chicago players love to see Gab walk up there with his heavy stick.” (Quentin Reynolds on Gabby Hartnett in Collier’s for August 21, 1937; PT)
ETY This etymology is suggested in the 1954 Gillette World Series Record Book (edited by Hy Turkin): “When a clutch is engaged in any machinery, parts are made to move, and any defect in the clutch will cause faulty operation or danger.” (PT)
EXT A key situation in any endeavor.

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Posted: 04 July 2018 03:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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That’s interesting. It’s clearly made itself at home across the Atlantic too. I tend to think about the word clutch in another context these days “Age with his stealing steps hath clawed me in his clutch.” (70 next month. But don’t they say that 70 is the new 60? Actually no, they don’t, but that gives rise to another word-related question which I’ll put in its own thread.)

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