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From the image of a genteel woman clutching her pearl necklace in shock.


pearl-clutching (comparative more pearl-clutching, superlative most pearl-clutching)

  1. (idiomatic, derogatory) Prim, prudish, or easily offended.
    • 2007, Amanda Marcotte, It's a Jungle Out There: The Feminist Survival Guide to Politically Inhospitable Environments, Seal Press (2007), →ISBN, page 141:
      When John Kerry “outed” Mary Cheney in a 2004 presidential debate, it was already well known that Mary Cheney was a lesbian. You can't out the already out, no matter what pearl-clutching pundits would have you believe.
    • 2010, April Winchell, Regretsy: Where DIY Meets WTF, Villard Books (2010), →ISBN, page 131:
      Even the biggest doe-eyed, pearl-clutching Etsy muffin has to find some way to make it okay to be negative, because we have no choice.
    • 2013, The Best American Comics 2013, (eds. Jeff Smith, Jessica Abel, & Matt Madden), Houghton Mifflin (2013), →ISBN, page 362:
      There's something truly irresistible about the pearl-clutching cartoons that came out during the time people thought women on bicycles were single-handedly going to bring society to ruin.
    • For more examples of usage of this term, see Citations:pearl-clutching.

Related terms[edit]