1 of 3


grabbed; grabbing

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

: to make a sudden snatch
grabber noun


2 of 3


: a sudden snatch
: an unlawful or unethical seizure
a grab for power
: something taken, seized, or grasped suddenly
chiefly British
: a device for clutching an object


3 of 3


: intended to be taken, seized, or grasped suddenly
a grab rail
: taken at random
grab samples of rocks
up for grabs
: available for anyone to take, win, or settle
A lot of voters are still up for grabs.
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

Verb 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. Noun a political activist who thinks the government's lease of public lands to logging companies amounts to an illegal land grab See More
Recent Examples on the Web
He was accused of grabbing and choking a woman in a domestic violence case in Fort Worth. Harriet Ramos, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 16 Feb. 2024 Shopify, the e-commerce software company, grabbed headlines last year with its push to eliminate unnecessary meetings. Charlotte Hampton, Fortune, 16 Feb. 2024 Collins grabbed a second rebound but threw the ball 10 rows up into the seats with 2.4 seconds left. Shayna Rubin, The Mercury News, 16 Feb. 2024 Tom Lynch, a D.C. police spokesman, said the guard confronted the youths and took the items away, but the youths grabbed the items back and ran to the vehicle in the garage. Peter Hermann, Washington Post, 16 Feb. 2024 Eubanks played 18 minutes in the win over Detroit, scoring six points and grabbing six rebounds. Sean Neumann, Peoplemag, 15 Feb. 2024 And Juarez stands ready to grab her keys and climb behind the wheel right now for a driving test. Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times, 15 Feb. 2024 The mob grabbed a ladder and shoved it through the tunnel, where still images from bodycam footage show police packed in like sardines. Ryan Oehrli, Charlotte Observer, 5 Feb. 2024 In an attempt to free himself, Brooks grabbed ahold of a wooden fence, but officers pulled his hands from it and took him to the ground, the document stated. Paloma Chavez, Sacramento Bee, 5 Feb. 2024
That makes the final two bullpen spots up for grabs for the following pitchers: Keegan Akin, Bryan Baker, Mike Baumann, Dillon Tate, Nick Vespi and Jacob Webb. Jacob Calvin Meyer, Baltimore Sun, 15 Feb. 2024 As a result, the source and dose of an active ingredient — or whether the product even actually contains the active ingredient in the first place — are up for grabs, Cohen said. Kristen Rogers, CNN, 15 Feb. 2024 What feels like an overnight revolution, AI has made tasks that were once defined by the human touch—from writing and analysis to complex decision-making—seem up for grabs and challenged our preconceptions about the role of AI, offering capabilities many leaders thought decades away. Soulaima Gourani, Forbes, 12 Feb. 2024 Sometimes there is extra food on the pass that is up for grabs. Bon Appétit Contributor, Bon Appétit, 9 Feb. 2024 There are 26 delegates up for grabs in the Nevada caucuses. Caitlin Yilek, CBS News, 8 Feb. 2024 There are 50 Republican delegates and 63 Democratic delegates up for grabs. Abc News, ABC News, 3 Feb. 2024 Another one of Queen Elizabeth II’s royally stylish SUVs is up for grabs. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 1 Feb. 2024 The state Senate seat in northeastern Los Angeles County — which includes Pasadena, Alhambra and Glendale — is up for grabs and five candidates are vying for the seat. Faith E. Pinho, Los Angeles Times, 1 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'grab.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Verb, Noun, and Adjective

obsolete Dutch or Low German grabben

First Known Use


circa 1581, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1777, in the meaning defined at sense 1c


1608, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of grab was circa 1581

Dictionary Entries Near grab

Cite this Entry

“Grab.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
grabbed; grabbing
: to take hastily : clutch, snatch
grabber noun


2 of 2 noun
: a sudden snatch
: an unlawful or forceful taking of something
a land grab
: something grabbed
: a device for clutching an object

More from Merriam-Webster on grab

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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