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I'm a portuguese speaker and we have a slang verb, "debrear", which means to step, all the way to the floor, on the clutch pedal, or, motorcycle-wise, to pull the clutch lever all the way in. According to many dicctionaries, the verb to clutch doesn't have the same meaning as "debrear". What about in informal english, can to clutch mean to floor the clutch pedal or to pull the clutch lever? Also, if a car have ran out of clutch fluid, trust me, the stick will not shift in any gear, can it be said that the car is not clutching, meaning the engine won't disconnect from the gearbox even though the clutch pedal is pressed all the way down?

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  • No one word term for that in English.
    – Phil Sweet
    Aug 6 at 9:37
  • "if a car have ran out of clutch fluid, trust me, the stick will not shift in any gear" - But sometimes you can successfully change gear without using the clutch pedal.
    – nnnnnn
    Aug 6 at 13:48
  • Right, the float shifiting, it doesn's work if the car has not started yet and is uphill when you wanna go up, though. Maybe, tell me if have driven one of those, those 60's muscle cars with a V8 big block engine. Maybe if you gas it as the key is turned, while the stick is up to the 1st gear, will it work? Aug 7 at 1:14

2 Answers 2

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In Britain, we declutch

Collins
declutch
in British English Verb (intransitive)
to disengage the clutch of a motor vehicle

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  • I assume that Americans don't have so many manual transmission cars and therefore don't need a word for it.
    – Stuart F
    Aug 6 at 9:37
  • @StuartF declutch is in Merriam-Webster, an American dictionary. Aug 6 at 10:17
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What about in informal English, can to clutch mean to floor the clutch pedal or to pull the clutch lever?

British English answer:

No. Driving instructors talk of “depressing the clutch” and drivers talk of "putting the clutch in" in a car and “pulling the clutch in” on a motorbike (here “clutch” = clutch pedal/lever)

Also, if a car has run out of clutch fluid, trust me, the stick will not shift into any gear, can it be said that the car is not clutching,

No. In BE, you would say – "I can't put it into gear; the clutch has gone."

I suspect that "declutching" is rare and has been so since the invention of syncromesh gears. Prior to this "double-declutching" was the required technique to change gears - you declutched from one gear to neutral and then from neutral into another.

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    I can still double clutch the old backhoe at work, but everyone else just rolls to a stop to downshift :) Lost art, I guess.
    – Phil Sweet
    Aug 6 at 21:03

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