apprehend

verb
ap·​pre·​hend | \ ˌa-pri-ˈhend How to pronounce apprehend (audio) \
apprehended; apprehending; apprehends

Definition of apprehend

transitive verb

1 : arrest, seize apprehend a thief
2a : to become aware of : perceive She immediately apprehended the problem.
b : to anticipate especially with anxiety, dread, or fear
3 : to grasp with the understanding : recognize the meaning of

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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.

Examples of apprehend in a Sentence

Within hours, police had apprehended the thief. subtle differences that are difficult to apprehend

Recent Examples on the Web

After they are apprehended, migrants are processed in facilities run by the Customs and Border Patrol. The Economist, "What caused the shameful scenes at America’s southern border?," 6 July 2019 After being cited for petty theft, the suspect was banned from the store where she was apprehended. Joseph Clark, cleveland.com, "Woman confronts shoe thief, gets dragged by car: Olmsted Falls Police Blotter," 28 June 2019 Now, the agency is apprehending tens of thousands of parents and children weekly. Nomaan Merchant, chicagotribune.com, "Top U.S. border official resigns as more than 100 migrant children returned to Texas facility described as ‘unsafe’," 25 June 2019 Now, the agency is apprehending tens of thousands of parents and children weekly. Nomaan Merchant, The Denver Post, "Head of Customs and Border Protection resigns amid uproar over migrant children," 25 June 2019 Now, the agency is apprehending tens of thousands of parents and children weekly. Washington Post, "Border official resigns amid uproar over migrant children," 25 June 2019 When anybody comes to the border, either presenting themselves at a port of entry or crossing land or water, they are apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, "Children Remain in Dangerous Conditions on the Texas Border," 25 June 2019 Police experienced difficulty in apprehending the gator because of animal control lacking the proper resources to handle the situation. Joe Mario Pedersen, orlandosentinel.com, "Alligators in Pittsburgh? Southeastern reptiles are appearing in places they shouldn’t: report," 24 June 2019 Morales was shot once while teaming with other Scott County deputies and Georgetown police officers in assisting the U.S. Marshal's Service in apprehending the fugitive, Scott County Sheriff Tony Hampton said Wednesday. Bruce Schreiner, Fox News, "Kentucky troopers: Deputy shot at rest stop, suspect killed," 12 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'apprehend.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of apprehend

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for apprehend

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

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Statistics for apprehend

Last Updated

7 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for apprehend

The first known use of apprehend was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for apprehend

apprehend

verb

English Language Learners Definition of apprehend

formal
of police : to arrest (someone) for a crime : to catch (a criminal or suspect)
somewhat old-fashioned : to notice and understand (something)

apprehend

verb
ap·​pre·​hend | \ ˌa-pri-ˈhend How to pronounce apprehend (audio) \
apprehended; apprehending

Kids Definition of apprehend

1 : arrest entry 1 sense 1 Police apprehended the burglar.
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 : understand sense 1 apprehend the meaning

apprehend

transitive verb
ap·​pre·​hend | \ ˌa-prə-ˈhend How to pronounce apprehend (audio) \

Legal Definition of apprehend

: arrest

History and Etymology for apprehend

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

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Comments on apprehend

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