\ 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 take hastily grab a bite to eat grab a cab
3a : to seize the attention of the technique of grabbing an audience— Pauline Kael
b : to impress favorably and deeply
4 : to obtain without consideration of what is right or wrong grab public lands

intransitive verb

: to make a sudden snatch



Definition of grab (Entry 2 of 3)

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

Definition of grab (Entry 3 of 3)

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

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Other Words from grab


grabber noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for grab

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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

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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Each time, Huang noticed the mistake and grabbed the wheel, steering it back into the correct lane. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Data shows Tesla owner experienced repeated glitch days before deadly 2018 crash," 17 Feb. 2020 Detectives spoke with Ruiz, who told them he was arguing with his wife in a dark room and grabbed her rifle. Brieanna J. Frank, azcentral, "MCSO: Man faces charges in wife's shooting in Tonopah after she refused to shoot him during an argument," 15 Feb. 2020 Typically, the tripod heads are grabbing on to either a segment of a Picatinny rail or an ARCA rail (a 1.5-inch dovetail) on the stock. John B. Snow, Outdoor Life, "Building the Ultimate Open-Country Hunting Rifle," 14 Feb. 2020 Mays said Murdock then grabbed him around the waist, took him to the floor, and was beating him when bouncers pulled him off. Darcie Moran, Detroit Free Press, "Bar squabble between Flint city councilman, member of mayor's staff turns violent," 13 Feb. 2020 His gun had come out of his holster and Dupree grabbed it before leaving the shop, Fitzgerald said. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, "Conflicting narratives emerge on first day of trial over 2017 triple homicide at Spenard gold shop," 13 Feb. 2020 Kuchar grabbed a three-stroke lead over five players sharing second. Adam Schupak, Golfweek, "Tiger Woods simmers after strong start to Genesis Invitational," 13 Feb. 2020 When the woman attempted to leave, the man grabbed her by one arm and pulled her across the lot. Lisa M. Bolton And Terence Mcardle, Washington Post, "Prince William crime report," 12 Feb. 2020 Within 10 minutes, his father came outside, grabbed him, led him to their room. Bill Glauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'Team Up for Change': Bucks, Sacramento Kings convene summit to discuss community challenges," 10 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And the Texas primary on March 3 is still very much up for grabs. Tom Benning, Dallas News, "So many winners: Impeachment left bitterness but offered something for almost everyone as it turned out," 6 Feb. 2020 And the Wizards aren’t technically out of the current playoff mix in the Eastern Conference, just four and a half games back of the Orlando Magic for the up-for-grabs eighth spot. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "NBA trade deadline: 5 teams that fit a Tristan Thompson deal and what the Cavs might get back," 5 Feb. 2020 Overall, there are 3,979 pledged delegates up for grabs nationwide, making Iowa's share about 1%. William Cummings, USA TODAY, "Iowa Democratic caucuses: Who won and when we will we find out? Unanswered questions linger," 4 Feb. 2020 Twice as many buildings have at least 50,000 square feet up for grabs. Nancy Sarnoff, Houston Chronicle, "Houston office market hit by energy woes," 4 Feb. 2020 Candidates in the Iowa caucus need at least 15% to win any of the Democratic delegates up for grabs. John Gage, Washington Examiner, "Andrew Yang jokingly tells supporters to drag people 'knocked unconscious' to his caucus corner," 3 Feb. 2020 The rest of the berths will be up for grabs during games at Ben Boeke and the McDonald Center. Anchorage Daily News, "CIC hockey tournament begins Monday with West, South already assured spots in state tournament," 3 Feb. 2020 Like his rival candidates, Buttigieg crisscrossed the state all week trying to win over the 45 percent of Iowans like Stutler who say their vote still is up for grabs. Chris Sikich, Indianapolis Star, "Iowans like Buttigieg. And Biden. Warren and Sanders too. Many are undecided before caucus," 2 Feb. 2020 Now, Britain is remaking itself yet again, cast off from Europe and facing an uncertain future in which the shape of its society and economy, and its place in the world, are still very much up for grabs. Mark Landler, New York Times, "What if Brexit Works?," 1 Feb. 2020

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


1777, in the meaning defined at sense 1c


1608, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for grab

Verb, Noun, and Adjective

obsolete Dutch or Low German grabben

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Time Traveler for grab

Time Traveler

The first known use of grab was circa 1581

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Statistics for grab

Last Updated

24 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Grab.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for grab


How to pronounce grab (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for grab

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with grab

Spanish Central: Translation of grab

Nglish: Translation of grab for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of grab for Arabic Speakers

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