\ ˈgrab \
grabbed; grabbing

Definition of grab

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to take or seize by or as if by a sudden motion or grasp grab up an ax grabbed the opportunity grab attention
2 : to obtain without consideration of what is right or wrong grab public lands
3 : to take hastily grab a bite to eat grab a cab
4a : to seize the attention of the technique of grabbing an audience— Pauline Kael
b : to impress favorably and deeply

intransitive verb

: to make a sudden snatch



Definition of grab (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : intended to be taken, seized, or grasped suddenly a grab rail
2 : taken at random grab samples of rocks



Definition of grab (Entry 3 of 3)

1a : something taken, seized, or grasped suddenly
b : a sudden snatch
c : an unlawful or unethical seizure a grab for power

2 chiefly British

a : a device for clutching an object
up for grabs
: available for anyone to take, win, or settle A lot of voters are still up for grabs.

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Other Words from grab


grabber noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for grab

Synonyms: Verb

bag, capture, catch, collar, cop [slang], corral, get, glom, grapple, hook, land, nab, nail, net, nobble [British slang], rap, seize, snag, snap (up), snare, snatch, trap

Synonyms: Noun

heist, pinch, rip-off, snatching, swiping, theft

Antonyms: Verb


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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of grab in a Sentence


I have to go back in the house and grab my car keys. The little boy grabbed onto his mother's leg and wouldn't let go. I'll grab a taxi and meet you there. Let's grab a bite to eat before the movie starts. The store had a lot of nice stuff, but nothing really grabbed me. The play grabs the audience from the opening scene. One player in particular has been grabbing a lot of attention lately.


a political activist who thinks the government's lease of public lands to logging companies amounts to an illegal land grab
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Still, more carriers are looking to grab a piece of the action. Jennifer Smith, WSJ, "J.B. Hunt Builds Up the Last Mile," 9 Jan. 2019 Eventually, according to The Daily Californian, it was put out by a bystander who had the presence of mind to grab a fire extinguisher. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Delivery Robot Spontaneously Bursts Into Flames," 17 Dec. 2018 Audience 2: Your thoughts on how the White House intern tried to grab the microphone from Acosta and the ensuing legal- Your thoughts on that? Eric Johnson, Recode, "Full Q&A: NBC journalists Chuck Todd, Andrea Mitchell and Hallie Jackson on Recode Decode," 5 Dec. 2018 Stop by the Musée Matisse, shop around Le Cours Saleya's flea, flower, and food market, and be sure to grab a glass of wine (and Instagram) Le Plongeoir, a restaurant perched atop a rock formation in the sea. Condé Nast Traveler, "La Compagnie Flight Deal: Business Class to the French Riviera for $1,200," 4 Dec. 2018 The robot will bring this pod to the picker, and its screen tells them what item to grab. Chavie Lieber, Vox, "The human costs of Black Friday, explained by a former Amazon warehouse manager," 20 Nov. 2018 Lohan appears to be punched in a face by a woman believed to be the child’s mother when the child actress tries to grab one of the kids. Fox News, "Lindsay Lohan's publicist will 'check in' on her after video of her accusing refugee parents of trafficking: report," 30 Sep. 2018 There’s quite literally never been a better time to grab Full Throttle in the last twenty-odd years. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "'s winter sale kicks off with free copies of LucasArts classic Full Throttle," 13 Dec. 2018 After grabbing the first two games, Matrka and Zinn stared down a 4-2 deficit. Cincinnati Enquirer,, "Matrka, Zinn take women's doubles title at The Met," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Donate to Flamboyan Arts Fund Head to Lin-Manuel Miranda's Flamboyan Arts Fund website, where there are still a handful of VIP tickets up for grabs. Megan Spurrell, Condé Nast Traveler, "You Can Still Get Tickets to Hamilton in Puerto Rico," 12 Dec. 2018 Warranties, protection plans, gift cards, and a few other categories are excluded from the discount, but most others are up for grabs. Ars Staff, Ars Technica, "Dealmaster: Get a Nintendo Switch for $264 and more in this eBay sale," 8 Aug. 2018 While many games do manage to make multiplayer work, some online fans are convinced that a multiplayer pivot tends to be a cash-grab from game developers, rather than something meant to enrich a game. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "Fallout 76 sparks more fan anxiety about direction of series," 11 June 2018 There's a picture of the catch, which was an incredible touchdown grab from Joe Montana. Fox News, "Trump cancels White House visit for Philadelphia Eagles," 6 June 2018 This frame grab from video provided by KK Productions shows protesters crowding a road in Tuticorin, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, on Tuesday. CNN, "Indian court halts expansion of copper plant after deadly protests," 23 May 2018 My social media, on the other hand, looks like a screen grab from Supermarket Sweep. Mariano Vivanco; Fashion Editor: Joanna Hillman, Harper's BAZAAR, "Blake Lively Interviews Gigi Hadid on Social Media, Self-Love, and Women Supporting Women," 11 Apr. 2018 My social media, on the other hand, looks like a screen grab from Supermarket Sweep. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Gigi Hadid Accidentally Called Blake Lively OId in This Interview," 11 Apr. 2018 One of the site's operators in 2016 posted a screen grab from Nolan's Facebook page showing someone in the white robes of a Ku Klux Klan member at his bar, the Rabbit Hole. Scott Wartman,, "Tim Nolan was a judge. Tim Nolan was a conservative activist. Tim Nolan was a human trafficker.," 26 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'grab.' 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 grab


circa 1581, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1608, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1777, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for grab

Verb, Adjective, and Noun

obsolete Dutch or Low German grabben

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Statistics for grab

Last Updated

13 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for grab

The first known use of grab was circa 1581

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More Definitions for grab



English Language Learners Definition of grab

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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)



English Language Learners Definition of grab (Entry 2 of 2)

: a quick attempt to take or get something

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


\ ˈgrab \
grabbed; grabbing

Kids Definition of grab

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to grasp or seize suddenly



Kids Definition of grab (Entry 2 of 2)

: a sudden attempt to grasp or seize

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More from Merriam-Webster on grab

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with grab

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for grab

Spanish Central: Translation of grab

Nglish: Translation of grab for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of grab for Arabic Speakers

Comments on grab

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