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jmdict 2102600 Active (id: 2224476)
溺れる者は藁をも掴む溺れる者は藁をもつかむ [sK] おぼれる者は藁をもつかむ [sK] おぼれる者はわらをもつかむ [sK] 溺れる者はワラをも掴む [sK] 溺れる者はワラをもつかむ [sK]
1. [exp,v5m] [proverb]
▶ a drowning man will clutch at a straw


9. A 2023-03-12 12:14:05  Robin Scott <...address hidden...>
I don't think the x-ref is appropriate. This is a proverb and 藁にもすがる is an idiom. They don't even use the same verb.
@@ -33 +32,0 @@
-<xref type="see" seq="2779480">藁にもすがる・わらにもすがる</xref>
8. A 2023-03-08 04:01:35  Jim Breen <...address hidden...>
7. A* 2023-03-05 09:13:29  Brian Krznarich <...address hidden...>
藁をも掴む	8781	35.2%
藁をもつかむ	7388	29.6%
わらをもつかむ	4643	18.6%
ワラをもつかむ	2438	9.8%
ワラをも掴む	1702	6.8%

溺れる者は	6132	84.9%
おぼれる者は	1089	15.1%

also, vs more common
藁にもすがる	20495	  
藁にも縋る	2287 person in desperate need,even if it is insignificant. comes from a proverb,the side of a river.
It comes from a proverb in Thomas More’s “Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation” (1534) which says, “A drowning man will clutch at straws.” It is said that the “straw” in this case refers to the sort of thin reeds that grow by the side of a river.
It was odd to see such a long-form idiom with kanji ranked at the bottom.  Full kanji form is prevalent on twitter, supported by n-grams. 

Seems like a bit of a fools errand to catalogue all combinations of 
(24 combinations, all probably in use somewhere). Likewise, I don't know about displaying any particular alternate surface form. *In particular*, for learners をも掴む would suffer by being written in kana, since をも is so unusual, and the "verb" would probably be guessed as もつかむ. (I had this problem myself, even with the kanji... I tried to figure out why もつかむ wasn't in the dictionary anywhere).  I added some [sK] forms that are more popular than the ones here, and I mostly just pulled them out of a hat. There are surely even more.

Japanese also has the old form(をも掴む) /modern-form (にも縋る) dichotomy, so I felt ok replacing the English gloss with what appears to be the most common structure. (clutch).

I didn't associate the English gloss with "grasping at straws", I had no idea this was an English idiom, or that it was the source of "grasping at straws".  
I thought this was a piece of ancient East-Asian wisdom.  Couldn't find a Japanese etymology, I think it's suspected to be a calque from English, but unknown.

In place of a [lit] gloss, I think the xref helps clears up a lot.
@@ -5 +5,5 @@
@@ -8,0 +13 @@
@@ -11 +16,10 @@
@@ -18,0 +33 @@
+<xref type="see" seq="2779480">藁にもすがる・わらにもすがる</xref>
@@ -20 +35 @@
-<gloss>a drowning man will catch at a straw</gloss>
+<gloss>a drowning man will clutch at a straw</gloss>
6. A 2022-08-01 04:18:14  Jim Breen <...address hidden...>
Add POS to proverbs
-*- via -*-
@@ -17,0 +18 @@
5. A 2018-05-21 13:15:04  Marcus Richert <...address hidden...>
@@ -19 +19 @@
-<gloss>A drowning man will catch at a straw</gloss>
+<gloss>a drowning man will catch at a straw</gloss>
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