Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

apprehend

play
verb ap·pre·hend \ˌa-pri-ˈhend\

Simple Definition of apprehend

  • of police : to arrest (someone) for a crime : to catch (a criminal or suspect)

  • : to notice and understand (something)

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of apprehend

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  arrest, seize <apprehend a thief>

  3. 2 a :  to become aware of :  perceive b :  to anticipate especially with anxiety, dread, or fear

  4. 3 :  to grasp with the understanding :  recognize the meaning of

  5. intransitive verb
  6. :  understand, grasp

Examples of apprehend in a sentence

  1. Within hours, police had apprehended the thief.

  2. subtle differences that are difficult to apprehend



Did You Know?

To apprehend is to seize, either physically or mentally. So to apprehend a thief is to nab him. But to apprehend a confusing news story, or to apprehend a difficult concept in physics, is to understand it—that is, to "grasp" it mentally. If you're apprehensive about something that's about to happen, it means you've grasped all the unpleasant possibilities and are waiting with anxiety or dread.

Origin and Etymology of apprehend

Middle English, from Latin apprehendere, literally, to seize, from ad- + prehendere to seize — more at get


First Known Use: 15th century


APPREHEND Defined for Kids

apprehend

play
verb ap·pre·hend \ˌa-pri-ˈhend\

Definition of apprehend for Students

apprehended

apprehending

  1. 1 :  1arrest 1 <Police apprehended the burglar.>

  2. 2 :  to look forward to with fear and uncertainty <… there was no need of all this caution from the enemies that I apprehended danger from. — Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe>

  3. 3 :  understand 1 <apprehend the meaning>




Law Dictionary

apprehend

play
transitive verb ap·pre·hend \ˌa-prə-ˈhend\

Legal Definition of apprehend

  1. :  arrest



Origin and Etymology of apprehend

Latin apprehendere to seize, arrest, from ad to + prehendere to seize



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up apprehend? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

at a gallop

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alphabet-pasta-spelling-help

Which is the correct spelling?

acommadate acommodate accommodate accomodate
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ