A drowning man will clutch at a straw

It is said that a drowning man will clutch at even the smallest thing to keep him afloat. Similarly a person in any desperate position will snatch at any chance, however slender, to save himself from disaster or ruin. Often the phrase, ‘to clutch at a straw’ is used on its own, and in less calamitous circumstances.

‘I’ve tired everywhere I can think of, but nobody seems to stock spare parts for these old cars,’ said Philip.

‘What about that junk-dealer in Commercial Street?’ suggested his friend. ‘I’m not saying it’s at all likely, but he may have what you want.’

‘I’ll shoot round and see him now!’ cried Philip, clutching at a straw.