\ ˈgrab How to pronounce grab (audio) \
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

Sanchez beat out Locke, grabbed hold of the job and hasn’t let go. Joel A. Erickson, Indianapolis Star, "Colts observations: Spencer Ware's best traits will show up in training camp," 13 June 2019 Anderson-Harper, his son’s teacher, grabbed the trophy caught up with him several feet away and told him to take it home. Meredith Colias-pete, Post-Tribune, "'I wanted to turn over the table': Gary parents speak out after their autistic son was dubbed 'most annoying' at school," 13 June 2019 Pick a plan, grab your Taste Passport and head toward these standouts: Juniper & Ivy, The Crack Shack, Herb & Wood, Born & Raised, Bobboi Natural Gelato, Ambrogio15, Isola Pizza Bar, Mona Lisa Italian Foods, Barbusa and Frost Me Cafe & Bakery. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Take a bite out of San Diego’s tastiest neighborhood at the Taste of Little Italy," 13 June 2019 Check out our favorite looks from Da Brat below and grab your Essence Festival tickets here. Nandi Howard, Essence, "Check Out Da Brat’s Best Looks Before She Hits The Stage At Essence Fest," 12 June 2019 In February, Dustin Joseph Albini, 36, pleaded guilty to grabbing a Bureau of Land Management officer’s groin and biting his leg in 2015 while officers were executing a search warrant on a marijuana growth operation, The Sacramento Bee reported. Fox News, "California man sentenced for biting federal officer, weapons charges," 12 June 2019 Paul Heyman set the bar even higher this past Monday, placing it onto a perch where no one else can realistically even consider grabbing. Justin Barrasso,, "The Week in Wrestling: WWE Still a Big Part of John Cena’s Future Plans," 12 June 2019 The video, which included police notes and edits as well as raw footage, shows officers discussing how to open McCoy’s car door and grab the gun in his lap before dragging him out of the car. Gwendolyn Wu,, "Willie McCoy shooting: Vallejo police fired 55 shots in 3.5 seconds, acted ‘reasonable,’ report says," 12 June 2019 In the first minute and 52 seconds of Game 4, Cousins committed three turnovers and didn’t score or grab a rebound. Matt Schneidman, The Mercury News, "DeMarcus Cousins goes from benchwarmer to X-factor in Warriors’ Game 5 win," 11 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Last year's champion Laurens scooped her connections $662,000 and this year is set for yet another tight contest with a $1.13m prize purse up for grabs. CNN, "Prix de Diane Longines: The most elegant garden party in the world?," 13 June 2019 Virginia's off-year elections later this year — when 140 legislative seats and partisan control of the Legislature is up for grabs — may signal what the rest of the country's mood will be in 2020. CBS News, "Virginia primary election yields mixed messages on what voters really want," 12 June 2019 Although the Nations League itself isn't up for grabs this weekend, England fans can take confidence ahead of their game with Switzerland as the Swiss haven't beaten the Three Lions since 1981., "Trent Alexander-Arnold Set for England Start Ahead of Kyle Walker Against Switzerland," 8 June 2019 There’s typically as much as $10,000 in prize money up for grabs. Sarah Kuta, The Denver Post, "Barbecue becomes a competitive sport as cooks go to great lengths to win the Colorado BBQ Challenge," 6 June 2019 With two big statewide offices up for grabs in 2022 — the governor's seat held by Democrat Tony Evers and the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Ron Johnson — plenty of others are also keeping options open. Bill Glauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Delafield businessman Kevin Nicholson keeping political options open as he leads new advocacy group," 5 June 2019 Courant content manager Russell Blair sorts through piles of legislation in the 2019 session’s waning hours, where much is still up for grabs. Michael Hamad,, "Capitol Watch Podcast: Connecticut’s 2019 legislative session: What passed, what died and what’s still left," 4 June 2019 So major, in fact, that every nail polish in the store is up for grabs. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Alert: Target Is Having a Major Nail Polish Sale," 1 June 2019 Up for grabs were 13 seats in Punjab and an equal number in Uttar Pradesh, eight each in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, nine in West Bengal, four in Himachal Pradesh and three in Jharkhand and Chandigarh. Ashok Sharma, The Seattle Times, "India’s marathon election ends, vote count begins Thursday," 20 May 2019

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

16 Jun 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 How to pronounce grab (audio) \
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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behavior toward others

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