grasp

verb
\ ˈgrasp How to pronounce grasp (audio) \
grasped; grasping; grasps

Definition of grasp

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to make the motion of seizing : clutch grasping for support

transitive verb

1 : to take or seize eagerly grasp the opportunity for advancement
2 : to clasp or embrace especially with the fingers or arms grasped the pen and began writing
3 : to lay hold of with the mind : comprehend failed to grasp the danger of the situation
grasp at straws
: to reach for or try anything in desperation
grasp the nettle
: to act boldly

grasp

noun

Definition of grasp (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : handle
2 : hold, control kept a firm grasp on the rope
3a : the reach of the arms The books on the top shelf were beyond my grasp.
b : the power of seizing and holding or attaining success lay within their grasp
4 : mental hold or comprehension especially when broad a remarkable grasp of the subject

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Other Words from grasp

Verb

graspable \ ˈgra-​spə-​bəl How to pronounce graspable (audio) \ adjective
grasper noun

Synonyms for grasp

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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Choose the Right Synonym for grasp

Verb

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 grasp in a Sentence

Verb I grasped the end of the rope and pulled as hard as I could. I grasped the rope by its end. His arthritis is so bad he can barely grasp a pencil. Noun The author shows a weak grasp of military strategy. The books on the top shelf are just beyond my grasp. She moved the toy to within the baby's grasp. She felt the solution was within her grasp.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The possibility of seeing Trump ushered from Pennsylvania Avenue was a tough one for his supporters to grasp, too. Matt Sedensky, Anchorage Daily News, "A jittery public awaits news as the American presidency remains in flux," 4 Nov. 2020 Both the league and the players grasp the unprecedented nature of the current situation. Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times, "What the NBA and players’ union must resolve to start new season," 2 Nov. 2020 But Cameron has his own interpretation of who can grasp the facts. Zz Packer, The New Yorker, "The Empty Facts of the Breonna Taylor Decision," 27 Sep. 2020 Stone struggled to grasp the concepts in such an ad hoc environment, though, and had a similar experience with a computer science independent study. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, "The Unsinkable Maddie Stone, Google's Bug-Hunting Badass," 25 Oct. 2020 Because of her own perspective, your mother might not quite grasp that even quotidian accounts of life from 70 years ago would be of interest to people today. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, "Letters should go to the archive, not the shredder," 12 Oct. 2020 Install lever-style door handles, which are considerably easier for hands of all ages and abilities to grasp and open. Kaitlin Petersen, House Beautiful, "How to Build a Home That Lasts Your Whole Life," 15 Oct. 2020 Because of her own perspective, your mother might not quite grasp that even quotidian accounts of life from 70 years ago would be of interest to people today. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, "Letters should go to the archive, not the shredder," 12 Oct. 2020 Because of her own perspective, your mother might not quite grasp that even quotidian accounts of life from 70 years ago would be of interest to people today. Amy Dickinson, oregonlive, "Ask Amy: Veteran’s old letters home could mean a lot to his children," 9 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Anybody with even the flimsiest grasp on the concept of supply and demand could tell you what was coming: All over the city, a glut of rentals are sitting pretty and empty, their stainless-steel appliances gleaming for no one. Washington Post, "While construction continues, the D.C. luxury rental market has crashed," 16 Nov. 2020 Scientists themselves already have the existing networks and skills; their patience for playing long games, their creativity, entrepreneurism and grasp of the complexity of the world are necessary attributes to advance the American experiment. Nick Pyenson, Scientific American, "We Need More Scientists in the U.S. Diplomatic Corps," 16 Nov. 2020 The snow globe, slipping from the hand of the dying Kane at the outset of Welles’s film, is nicely echoed by Fincher with a closeup of an empty bottle, tumbling from his hero’s grasp. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "“Mank” and the Making of “Citizen Kane”," 13 Nov. 2020 Could former American presidents intervene to help Trump grasp reality of election results? Alison Medley, Chron, "Department of Homeland Security calls this year's election 'most secure in American history'," 13 Nov. 2020 Though Biden was showing a lead of more than 4 million in the popular vote and a decisive grasp of the Electoral College, Trump continued to undermine the legitimacy of the election Saturday, filing a flurry of lawsuits and refusing to concede. Daniela Altimari, courant.com, "A new president: Joy, relief sweep across Connecticut as Joe Biden defeats Donald Trump to become 46th U.S. president," 7 Nov. 2020 But that nurturing comes with strings, mainly the mutual understanding that a company will never outgrow the government's grasp. Fortune, "China’s markets welcome homegrown tech—but Ant’s suspended IPO is a reminder of the risks," 7 Nov. 2020 The number of rural Democrats in the state has been declining steadily over the past 20 years as a rural-urban political divide grew deeper and Republicans took a firmer grasp on middle America. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Interfaith solidarity, sick election workers, #Sharpiegate: News from around our 50 states," 6 Nov. 2020 Baltimore then drove inside the Steelers 10 before Bud Dupree jostled the ball from Jackson's grasp and Vince Williams recovered at the 4. David Ginsburg, Star Tribune, "Steelers stay unbeaten with 28-24 comeback win over Ravens," 1 Nov. 2020

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

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Noun

1561, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for grasp

Verb and Noun

Middle English graspen

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Time Traveler for grasp

Time Traveler

The first known use of grasp was in the 14th century

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Statistics for grasp

Last Updated

15 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Grasp.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/grasp. Accessed 5 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for grasp

grasp

verb
How to pronounce grasp (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of grasp

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to take and hold (something) with your fingers, hands, etc.
: to understand (something that is complicated or difficult)

grasp

noun

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

: a usually strong hold
: an understanding of something
: the distance that can be reached by your arms and hands

grasp

verb
\ ˈgrasp How to pronounce grasp (audio) \
grasped; grasping

Kids Definition of grasp

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to seize and hold with or as if with the hand grasp a bat You must grasp the opportunity.
2 : to make the motion of seizing She grasped at branches as she fell.
3 : understand sense 1 He quickly grasped the idea.

grasp

noun

Kids Definition of grasp (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a grip of the hand Keep a firm grasp on the rope.
2 : control entry 2 sense 1, hold The land was in the grasp of a tyrant.
3 : the power of seizing and holding : reach He put the tools beyond the child's grasp.
4 : understanding entry 1 sense 1 She has a good grasp of math.

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