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

As additional officers arrived at the scene, a man was spotted fleeing from the vacant building but authorities were not able to apprehend him. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "2 Pennsylvania police officers injured in shooting while responding to false report of abduction," 2 Oct. 2018 The suspect, who has been identified as Jarrod W. Ramos by AP, was apprehended by police and taken into custody Thursday. Eli Meixler, Time, "These Are the Victims of the Capital Gazette Shooting," 29 June 2018 One man was apprehended quickly by an off-duty police officer who rushed to the scene about 6 p.m. June 9 at 3401 Red Bridge Road. Joe Robertson And Tess Vrbin, kansascity, "Gunman in Red Bridge Road shootout that hurt child still at large; police want help," 28 June 2018 One of the two suspects in the June 21 attempted carjackings was apprehended by Chicago police in connection with another carjacking, according to police. Jennifer Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "Oak Park police: Man reading newspaper ordered out of car at gunpoint," 26 June 2018 But like thousands of families who attempt to come to the U.S., they were apprehended by the Border Patrol. NBC News, "In the chaos of Trump's policy reversal, families aren't split but monitored," 24 June 2018 They were apprehended by Border Patrol the next day. Silvia Foster-frau, San Antonio Express-News, "After crossing the border, vastly different experiences for immigrant families," 21 June 2018 They were apprehended by Border Patrol the next day. Silvia Foster-frau, Houston Chronicle, "After crossing the border, vastly different experiences for immigrant families," 21 June 2018 He was charged on Sept. 21 and two days later was apprehended by the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force at a relative’s home in Clarksville, Tenn. Robert Moran, Philly.com, "Jury convicts man in fatal shooting of 8-year-old Camden girl," 21 June 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

12 May 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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