"a brood, the number of eggs incubated at any one time," in reference to chickens, 1721, a southern England dialectal variant of cletch (1690s), noun from cleck (v.), which is from Middle English clekken "to hatch, give birth to" (c. 1400), which is probably from a Scandinavian source (such as Old Norse klekja "to hatch"), perhaps of imitative origin (compare cluck (v.)). Compare batch/bake.
"a grip, grasp, tight hold," c. 1200, plural, cleches, from or related to the verb clucchen, clicchen (see clutch (v.)). Clutches "the hands," suggesting grasping rapacity or cruelty, is from 1520s.
"movable mechanical coupling or locking and unlocking contrivance for transmitting motion," 1814, from clutch (v.), with the "seizing" sense extended to "device for bringing working parts together." Originally of mill-works, first used of motor vehicles 1899. Meaning "moment when heroics are required" is attested from 1920s.
c. 1200, "to clutch, seize firmly," from Old English gripan "grasp at, lay hold, attack, take, seek to get hold of," from Proto-Germanic *gripan (source also of Old Saxon gripan, Old Norse gripa, Dutch grijpen, Gothic greipan, Old High German grifan, German greifen "to seize"), of uncertain origin, perhaps from PIE root *ghreib- "to grip" (source also of Lithuanian griebiu, griebti "to seize"). Figurative sense of "complain, grouse" is first attested 1932, probably from earlier meaning "produce a gripping pain in the bowels" (c. 1600; compare belly-ache). Related: Griped; griping.
c. 1300, transitive, "to stop the breath by preventing air from entering the windpipe;" late 14c., "to make to suffocate, deprive of the power of drawing breath," of persons as well as swallowed objects; a shortening of acheken (c. 1200), from Old English aceocian "to choke, suffocate," probably from root of ceoke "jaw, cheek" (see cheek (n.)), with intensive a-.
Intransitive sense from c. 1400. Meaning "gasp for breath" is from early 15c. Figurative use from c. 1400, in early use often with reference to weeds stifling the growth of useful plants (a Biblical image). Meaning "to fail in the clutch" is attested by 1976, American English. Related: Choked; choking.
The North American choke-cherry (1785) supposedly was so called for its astringent qualities: compare choke-apple "crab-apple" (1610s); and choke-pear (1530s) "kind of pear with an astringent taste" (also with a figurative sense, defined by Johnson as "Any aspersion or sarcasm, by which another person is put to silence)." Choked up "overcome with emotion and unable to speak" is attested by 1896. The baseball batting sense is by 1907.
"native or permanent resident of London," specifically the City of London, more precisely one born or living "within the sound of Bow-Bell" (see Bow bells); c. 1600, usually said to be from Middle English cokenei, cokeney "spoiled child, milksop" (late 14c.), originally cokene-ey "cock's egg" (mid-14c.). The most likely disentangling of the etymology is to start from Old English cocena "cock's egg" -- genitive plural of coc "cock" + æg "egg" -- medieval term for "runt of a clutch" (as though "egg laid by a cock"), extended derisively c. 1520s to "town dweller," gradually narrowing thereafter to residents of a particular neighborhood in the East End of London. Liberman, however, disagrees:
Cockney, 'cock's egg,' a rare and seemingly obsolete word in Middle English, was, in all likelihood, not the etymon of ME cokeney 'milksop, simpleton; effeminate man; Londoner,' which is rather a reshaping of [Old French] acoquiné 'spoiled' (participle). However, this derivation poses some phonetic problems that have not been resolved.
The characteristic accent so called from 1890, but the speech peculiarities were noted from 17c. As an adjective in this sense, from 1630s. Related: Cockneydom; Cockneyish.