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

Harder to grasp are health impacts from microscopic particles in the smoke that can trigger heart attacks, breathing problems and other maladies. Matthew Brown, The Denver Post, "Jump in wildfires across Western U.S. means smoke’s health impact will spread," 25 June 2019 My job is not to control and grasp it, which is like trying to grab a feather. Jonathan Van Meter, Vogue, "“My Job Is To Be a Spirit Leader”: Behind the Scenes with Virgil Abloh," 14 May 2019 His need for a visa, her need for security, no longer seemed grasping or callous. Leila Aboulela, Harper's magazine, "Whisky Lullaby," 10 Jan. 2019 Words, letters and sounds became elusive to her, like grasping at bubbles blowing in the wind. Robyn Curnow, CNN, "The upside to dyslexia, even as a journalist," 6 June 2019 The incorrect calculations prevent lawmakers from grasping the full extent of the agency’s staffing issues, the auditors wrote. oregonlive.com, "Flaws in Oregon’s child welfare system still place children at risk, review finds," 5 June 2019 Europeans were trying to grasp the unfamiliar by translating it into familiar terms. Robyn Creswell, The New York Review of Books, "‘An Enthusiastick Sect’," 7 Mar. 2019 Spoon Method Grip a spoon in the palm of your hand so that four fingers are firmly grasping the base. Country Living Staff, Country Living, "How to Open a Can Without a Can Opener," 21 May 2019 Now imagine trying to grasp long division, cell structure, the Bill of Rights. Guest Columnist/cleveland.com, cleveland.com, "Government's biggest cuts hurt America's smallest citizens: Ben Stein (Opinion)," 22 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

On the flip side, absolute zero — cold so cold there’s nowhere to go but up — is almost within scientists’ grasp. Stephen Ornes, Discover Magazine, "What Does Absolute Zero Mean?," 30 June 2019 If nothing else, most stars possess a shrewd grasp of how to manage the media and attract public attention. Sharon Marcus, Time, "Even the Internet Hasn’t Really Changed How Being Famous Works. Here’s Why," 25 June 2019 Rick Bell, an associate professor of history at the University of Maryland, was impressed by the show’s grasp of historical detail from the etiquette of dueling rituals to a cannon-stealing raid that occurred during the Revolutionary War. Mary Carole Mccauley, baltimoresun.com, "Here comes 'Hamilton': What you need know about the musical coming to Baltimore that took over the world," 21 June 2019 Special gardening cuffs help hands with limited strength grasp and use hand tools. Jodi Torpey, The Denver Post, "The healing gardens at Craig Hospital offer respite and therapy," 17 June 2019 With the Houston Astros running roughshod all over the American League and holding a nearly 10-game lead in the West, all that is within the Angels’ grasp is one of the two AL wild-card spots. Maria Torres, latimes.com, "Griffin Canning’s uneven outing and stranded runners doom Angels in loss," 16 June 2019 The presentation revealed a sophisticated grasp of history and solid understanding of metaphor. Peg Tyre, BostonGlobe.com, "How to survive in an AI world," 13 June 2019 But Grande has displayed a Swiftian grasp of the marketplace since her 2013 debut album, with five consecutive million-selling albums and 13 top-10 singles. Greg Kot, chicagotribune.com, "Review: Ariana Grande's efficient pop buzzes through United Center," 5 June 2019 But there is compelling evidence Pettis’ better grasp of the offense could result in a second-season leap in production. Eric Branch, SFChronicle.com, "49ers hope Dante Pettis catches on like George Kittle," 5 June 2019

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

3 Jul 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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