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
b : embrace
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

comprehend, know, understand

Synonyms: Noun

control, hand(s)

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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

Gomez did not yet grasp how her odds of winning asylum had changed in recent weeks. Maria Sacchetti, Washington Post, "‘If we’re all together, I can handle it’," 9 July 2018 That humans do not grasp this is a side-effect of evolution. The Economist, "IKEA furniture and the limits of AI," 21 Apr. 2018 All those questioning Suh for being a mercenary don’t really grasp that most free-agent players moving on to new contracts are mercenaries. Dave Hyde, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Hyde5: Dolphins should thank Jets on Suh decision," 26 Mar. 2018 The removal process simply involves your medical practitioner grasping onto your IUD’s strings with a tool, then pulling out the device. Korin Miller, SELF, "13 Things You Absolutely Should Know Before Getting the Copper IUD," 20 July 2018 If the human eye could simultaneously grasp all the colors in the grid, this should be an easy task. Nick Chater, WSJ, "You See Less Than You Think," 10 Aug. 2018 Even after Jakob Junis keyed a victory over the Yankees in what became yet another lost series, the Royals couldn’t grasp a single shred of momentum. Maria Torres, kansascity, "Royals beat Cardinals in 10 innings, secure first road series victory of season | The Kansas City Star," 23 May 2018 Her husband, Mickey, by then a successful pharmacist, couldn’t grasp her obsession with the past. Robert King, Indianapolis Star, "Eva Kor as we've never seen her: Film adds layers to story of Indiana Holocaust survivor," 2 Apr. 2018 Yet the pesky particles have eluded science’s grasp for decades. Adam Hadhazy, Discover Magazine, "Scientists Hunt for A Seeming Paradox: A Magnet With Only One Pole," 13 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The storm that ravaged Florida’s Panhandle left incredible destruction stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the state border, but getting a firm grasp on how many died is proving somewhat elusive. Gary Fineout And Kelli Kennedy, The Seattle Times, "In Florida, determining hurricane death toll proves elusive," 16 Oct. 2018 But never mind his or her grasp of subject or teaching style. Alfred Lubrano, Philly.com, "After complaints, Ratemyprofessors.com does away with its 'hotness' ratings," 11 July 2018 Benefit already has a pretty good grasp on the whole brow market. Sable Yong, Allure, "How to Contour Your Brows With Benefit's New 4-in-1 Brow Contour Pro," 6 Aug. 2018 Anti-Semitism has yet to release its grasp on the world. Marvin Glassman, Jewish Journal, "Jewish students featured in 'Cabaret' production at FAU," 5 July 2018 On Tuesday, PetSmart sued Citibank, the agent on the company’s term loans, for refusing to bless the transfers of shares that puts them out of the reach of its lenders and within the grasp of its private-equity owner BC Partners. Soma Biswas, WSJ, "PetSmart Sues Citibank in Escalating Battle With Lenders," 28 June 2018 Instead, Namouni and Morais reason, our sun’s gravity must have captured the object after it was somehow ejected from the grasp of a nearby neighboring star. Lee Billings, Scientific American, "Astronomers Spot Potential "Interstellar" Asteroid Orbiting Backward around the Sun," 21 May 2018 In the weeks before his death, Keon, who had been arrested and reported missing a number of times since 2013, slipped through the grasp of public agencies, records show. David Owens, courant.com, "Teen Gets 20 Years In Killing Of Keon Huff, 15-Year-Old From Hartford," 5 Apr. 2018 While Hollywood movies have brought many of the wonders of outer space seemingly within the grasp of our imagination, blazars will be another matter entirely, Halzen said. Mark Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Blazing a trail: UW professor's dream leads to breakthrough in identifying origin of cosmic rays," 12 July 2018

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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Learn More about grasp

Dictionary Entries near grasp

Graptozoa

GRAS

Grasmere

grasp

grasp at

grasp for

grasping

Statistics for grasp

Last Updated

13 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for grasp

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

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More Definitions for grasp

grasp

verb

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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More from Merriam-Webster on grasp

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with grasp

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for grasp

Spanish Central: Translation of grasp

Nglish: Translation of grasp for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of grasp for Arabic Speakers

Comments on grasp

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