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verb \ˈgrab\

Simple Definition of grab

  • : to quickly take and hold (someone or something) with your hand or arms

  • : to take or get (something) in a quick and informal way

  • : to get the attention or interest of (someone or something)

Full Definition of grab


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to take or seize by or as if by a sudden motion or grasp <grab up an ax> <grabbed the opportunity> <grab attention>

  3. 2 :  to obtain unscrupulously <grab public lands>

  4. 3 :  to take hastily <grab a bite to eat> <grab a cab>

  5. 4 a :  to seize the attention of <the technique of grabbing an audience — Pauline Kael> b :  to impress favorably and deeply

  6. intransitive verb
  7. :  to make a grab

grab·ber noun

Examples of grab

  1. I have to go back in the house and grab my car keys.

  2. The little boy grabbed onto his mother's leg and wouldn't let go.

  3. I'll grab a taxi and meet you there.

  4. Let's grab a bite to eat before the movie starts.

  5. The store had a lot of nice stuff, but nothing really grabbed me.

  6. The play grabs the audience from the opening scene.

  7. One player in particular has been grabbing a lot of attention lately.

Origin of grab

obsolete Dutch or Low German grabben

First Known Use: circa 1581

Synonym Discussion of grab

take, seize, grasp, clutch, snatch, grab mean to get hold of by or as if by catching up with the hand. take is a general term applicable to any manner of getting something into one's possession or control <take some salad from the bowl>. seize implies a sudden and forcible movement in getting hold of something tangible or an apprehending of something fleeting or elusive when intangible <seized the suspect>. grasp stresses a laying hold so as to have firmly in possession <grasp the handle and pull>. clutch suggests avidity or anxiety in seizing or grasping and may imply less success in holding <clutching her purse>. snatch suggests more suddenness or quickness but less force than seize <snatched a doughnut and ran>. grab implies more roughness or rudeness than snatch <grabbed roughly by the arm>.

Rhymes with grab




Definition of grab

  1. 1 :  intended to be grabbed <a grab rail>

  2. 2 :  taken at random <grab samples of rocks>


First Known Use of grab





Simple Definition of grab

  • : a quick attempt to take or get something

  • : the act of taking something in a forceful or illegal way

Full Definition of grab

  1. 1 a :  something grabbed b :  a sudden snatch c :  an unlawful or unscrupulous seizure

  2. 2 chiefly British a :  a device for clutching an object b :  clamshell 2a

up for grabs
  1. :  available for anyone to take, win, or settle

Examples of grab

  1. <a political activist who thinks the government's lease of public lands to logging companies amounts to an illegal land grab>


First Known Use of grab


Seen and Heard

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


February 10, 2016

to put in good humor

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