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From Middle English crucche, from Old English cryċċ (crutch, staff), from Proto-Germanic *krukjō (crutch, staff), from Proto-Indo-European *grewg- (wrinkle, bend), from Proto-Indo-European *ger- (to turn, bend). Cognate with Scots curche, crutch (crutch, stilts), Dutch kruk (crutch), Low German krukke, Krück (crutch), German Krücke (crutch), Swedish krycka (crutch). Latin crucia, crucca, croccia, crocia (crutch), and its descendants are ultimately from the Germanic.


  • IPA(key): /kɹʌtʃ/
  • Rhymes: -ʌtʃ
  • (file)


crutch (plural crutches)

  1. A device to assist in motion as a cane, especially one that provides support under the arm to reduce weight on a leg.
    He walked on crutches for a month until the cast was removed from his leg.
  2. Something that supports, often used negatively to indicate that it is not needed and causes an unhealthful dependency; a prop
    Alcohol became a crutch to help him through the long nights; eventually it killed him.
    • 1710, Edmund Smith, A poem on the death of Mr. John Philips
      Rhyme [] is [] at best a crutch that lifts the weak alone.
  3. A crotch; the area of body where the legs fork from the trunk.
  4. A form of pommel for a woman's saddle, consisting of a forked rest to hold the leg of the rider.
  5. (nautical) A knee, or piece of knee timber.
  6. (nautical) A forked stanchion or post; a crotch.
  7. (heraldry) A type of cross formed from two C-shapes joined back to back.



crutch (third-person singular simple present crutches, present participle crutching, simple past and past participle crutched)

  1. (transitive) To support on crutches; to prop up.
  2. (intransitive) To move on crutches.
  3. (transitive) To shear the hindquarters of a sheep; to dag.
    • 2010, January 29, Emma Partridge, Stock Journal, "Richie Foster a cut above the rest"
      After learning how to crutch at 13, he could dag 400 sheep in a day by the spring of 1965 and earned himself more than just a bit of pocket money.
  4. (transitive) In soap-making: to stir with a crutch.

Derived terms[edit]