\ 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

In fact, gel manis on short nails can be just as attention-grabbing, artsy, and creative as those on longer nails. Neha Prakash, Allure, "Gel Manicures on Short Nails Are the Most Popular Nail Trend for Fall," 16 Sep. 2019 Martin Laird Three-time PGA winner and two-time playoff runner-up searching for his first victory since 2013 but grabbed three top 10s in thin fields last season. 29. Esten Mclaren, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier: Fantasy Golf Power Rankings," 10 Sep. 2019 The tennis star even grabbed dinner with the duchess one night during her stay, amidst all of the baby shower craziness. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Is Flying to New York to Watch Serena Williams Play in the US Open," 6 Sep. 2019 The season, like most others during the game’s meteoric rise to the top of the gaming zeitgeist these past two years, came with one giant, headline-grabbing addition. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Fortnite’s next tournament will also be its most controversial, thanks to mech suits," 16 Aug. 2019 If the Patriots defense is still sitting on your waiver wire, then run and grab them now. Frankie Taddeo,, "Fantasy Football: Week 2 Sunday Superlatives," 16 Sep. 2019 Shortly after the door was opened and a struggle began while officers attempted to grab him. Lily Jackson |, al, "Hostage situation in Tuscaloosa ends in arrest," 15 Sep. 2019 The Ohlone were entitled to say it when Spanish colonizers grabbed their land in the 18th century, followed by gold seekers in the mid-19th, and Italian fishermen and their families in the late 19th. Christopher Reynolds, Los Angeles Times, "In San Francisco’s North Beach, pasta, poetry and a big helping of uncertainty," 14 Sep. 2019 The pass was underthrown, but Flemings just grabbed it before the Cal Poly defender could snare it. oregonlive, "Oregon State Beavers football drubs Cal Poly Mustangs: Live updates recap," 14 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Beckham, who made a sensational one-handed grab in the first quarter that led to a field goal, got hurt on a 40-yard pass from Baker Mayfield for Beckham that was broken up by Marcus Maye. Mary Kay Cabot,, "Odell Beckham leaves the field before halftime after getting hurt on long pass, returns for 3rd quarter," 16 Sep. 2019 Two weeks ago, Bellinger had a memorable 12-yard catch against Weber State on an up-for-grabs pass that Agnew admitted afterwards was ill-advised. San Diego Union-Tribune, "3 Thoughts after the Aztecs’ 31-10 win over New Mexico State," 15 Sep. 2019 Jeremiah Wright added two grabs for 63 yards and a touchdown. Daily Pilot Staff, Daily Pilot, "College Roundup: Golden West football falls to 0-2," 14 Sep. 2019 Mustangs receiver Timothy Spurlock, in the end zone and with a man in his face, turned and reached over the defender’s shoulder for an incredible grab. Daniel Boyette, al, "Avery Seaton’s 4 TDs lead Madison Academy past Brewer," 14 Sep. 2019 Rose’s Daughter, sibling to Brulé Bistro also in Pineapple Grove neighborhood, American-Italian trattoria with New York borough Italian ambiance, continental grab-and go-breakfast on front patio and nightly dinner. Susan Bryant,, "Chef Angelo Elia opening Casa D’Angelo Italian restaurant in Aventura," 13 Sep. 2019 Commissioner Larry Scott, the university presidents, a cash grab, night games and unintended consequences — how the Pac-12 got to this point. 2. Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, "Saturday Night Lights: Arizona, ASU carry the load when it comes to Pac-12 night games," 11 Sep. 2019 Duvernay finished with 12 receptions for 154 yards and Brennan Eagles gained 115 on five grabs as Johnson drew in multiple LSU defenders. Nick Moyle, Houston Chronicle, "Rise of Brennan Eagles, Devin Duvernay could help free up Texas WR Collin Johnson," 10 Sep. 2019 Hockenson had four catches of 20-plus yards, including a 39-yard grab in the second quarter that highlighted a 95-yard scoring drive, and capped his day with a 23-yard touchdown. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions stock watch: T.J. Hockenson shines, run game sputters," 9 Sep. 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

20 Oct 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

What made you want to look up grab? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to be made up of

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